Monday, April 13, 2015

No Woman, No Cry

Jamaica is known for sun, beaches, reggae--and homophobia that's stronger than Jamaican rum and ganja combined.

Last week President Obama visited the island nation.  He could've confined himself to state business.  Or to visiting the the Bob Marley museum.  Or to drinking a Red Stripe on the beach in a Speedo.

But he didn't.  At the University of the West Indies in the Jamaican capital of Kingston, Obama  conducted a town hall with young people.  In his opening remarks, he praised a woman in the audience named Angeline Jackson, executive director for Quality of Citizenship Jamaica, a lesbian rights group. Obama said:

"Several years ago, when Angeline was 19, she and a friend were kidnapped, held at gunpoint and sexually assaulted. And as a woman, and as a lesbian, justice and society were not always on her side.  But instead of remaining silent, she chose to speak out and started her own organization to advocate for women like her, and get them treatment and get them justice, and push back against stereotypes, and give them some sense of their own power. And she became a global activist.  But more than anything, she cares about her Jamaica, and making it a place where everybody, no matter their color, or their class, or their sexual orientation, can live in equality and opportunity.  That’s the power of one person, what they can do."

Bob Marley probably wouldn't agree with me, but I'd say Obama's effort to call out anti-LGBT violence in Jamaica was a fine example of Positive Vibration.