NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A group of young Bahamians is challenging the government and Bahamian citizens to take action amidst worldwide shifts on systematic racism and human rights.
According to a statement, “The Unchaining” is a collective of Bahamian intergenerational activists striving for a brighter Bahamas, inclusive of race, gender, sexual orientation, and religion.
The group has demanded the tabling and implementation of economic, educational, and criminal justice reform that will ensure an equitable society for Bahamians locally, and future graduates returning home.
“Silence is symbolic,” the statement read.
“…In our country’s case, The Bahamas’ notable absence from the United Nations debate on systemic racism and human rights violations signifies that despite our sovereignty, we remain under the heel of white supremacy.
“Led by 50 African nations, this urgent forum was an opportunity for our representatives to stand in solidarity with the Black populous worldwide against racism and the persecution of Black people.
“Instead, their vacancy, followed by a blithe statement, emphasized their non-alignment and disinterest in an equitable society.
“This eagerness to remain noncommittal during racial and economic unrest is a disappointing yet predictable consequence of colonialism and an asymmetrical relationship with the United States.”
The UNHRC held an urgent debate last month on the adoption of the draft resolution entitled “The promotion and protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Africans and people of African descent against excessive use of force and other human rights violations by law enforcement officers”.
During the debate, a host of speakers urged the council to retain the focus of the proposed commission of inquiry, specifically on the death of George Floyd, an African American man who died in police custody in late March; police brutality and institutional racism within the United States.
Floyd’s death sparked protests and demonstrations in major cities across the globe, with some turning violent, and memorial figures of historical colonial figures torn down nor vandalized. Scores of Bahamians living in the United States have participated in protests from Manhattan to Miami.
There has been no physical protest taking place in The Bahamas on the issue. The country remains on a 10pm – 5am curfew.
“As Independence Day approaches, we must look back at our history and remember Sir Lynden Pindling, whose throwing of the mace not only symbolized the passion of the Bahamian people, but a rejection of white supremacy and inequality,” the group continued.
“We must decide if we will continue to sit idly by as our beautiful nation remains a playground for the wealthy, white expatriates who experience a Bahamas unlike the majority have ever seen.
“We demand the tabling and implementation of economic, educational, and criminal justice reform that will ensure an equitable society for Bahamians locally, and future graduates returning home.
“…Our power as a people is, and will always be far greater than the people in power. We are The Unchaining.