The Caribbean is a place of contrasts. There’s the stunning blue of the sea and towering peaks surrounded by clouds. There’s the glitz of places like St. Barths and the quiet peace of the Out Islands in the Bahamas.
Contrasts can be found everywhere, but one place sparks a different type of contrast…the Annaberg Sugar Plantation ruins on St. John in the USVI. It’s a place of deep-seated pain and a place of jaw-dropping beauty. Due to the racial tension between blacks and whites in the United States, a place like this makes me question things.
Obviously, sugar plantations which used slave labor back in the 1700 and 1800’s were terrible terrible places. I can’t even imagine the pain and hardships that those people had to endure. If I were black (or white, red, green, or pink for that matter) and was forced to work the fields back then, I would have done everything I could have to escape. I would have risked the mile-long swim across the narrow strait between St. John and Tortola. Sure, there were cannons used to stop that very thing, but it would have been worth the risk.
Fast forward to today and we have unarmed blacks being shot and persecuted against by whites. Why? I just don’t understand.
I really don’t like doing serious stories like this, but honestly I just don’t understand the actions of those who choose to hold other people down. It’s been one of my biggest issues dating back to my time in elementary school. There’s something deep down inside me that says stand up and fight those who use power/size/money to keep others down.
Now, I don’t agree with the actions of taking a life of innocent people because of the actions of others. There’s a right way to inspire change and there’s a wrong way. The peaceful protests around the country are the right way in my eyes. Force change by digging down and finding the root of the problem. Is it racist police chiefs? Is it ego maniacs that feel superior to others because they carry a gun and have a badge? I don’t know what it is, but I believe it can be changed through powerful words and inspired actions.
I’m not black, but if I were I’d be protesting and fighting for my rights. Hell, I should be doing it right alongside them no matter what color I was. I guess you could say this story is my best means to help fight that fight for equality and justice. You simply don’t keep others down because of their skin color, the language they speak, where they come from, the amount of money they have, or the sex they are. We are all created equal, let’s all try and remember that.
A place like Annaberg should tell us how far we’ve come and how far we still need to go. It’s an emotional place, it’s an emotional time. Let it inspire us to be good to each other and not fall into the thinking of the past.
Let’s spread the love people, not hate.