1. Lift up your head to the rising sun, Bahamaland:
As the sun glazes across the horizon of 700 islands and cays, it discovers a daunting reality that speaks volume to the inner struggles of its people. Singing the hymns as they seek to lift their heads to the glare of the sun “like a tree that stands by the water, we shall not be move”.
As the sun shines throughout the corridors of our country, it brings light to the truism of the young man who grapples with a country that disempowered his ability to become something larger than the circumstances that enroots the story of his life or single mother who scuffles with the brawl of lifting her head as she stares poverty in the face gasping for economic restoration.
The light of the sun defines the paradox of the richest country in the Caribbean, where the distribution of wealth and prosperity in our nation has become more unequal; where the knees of working Bahamian families meet the lines of poverty as they experience economic insecurity.
2. March on to glory, your bright banners waving high:
A march that consist of 371,960 participants all tied together in the garment of destiny , signifying the significance of a self-determined people who have conquered quarrels of racial segregation invoking a society that finds a place for the common man ,true, but this is only one side of the story.
The contrary speaks truth of a marathon that consists of 371,960 contestants that elucidate a way of life that enriches the powerful and affluent while disenfranchising the working class or the poor. This practice fabricates an imbalance that ushers systemic oppression.
To add clarity, I refer to the attitudes, behaviors, and pervasive and systematic social arrangements by which members of one group of Bahamians are exploited and subordinated while members of another group of Bahamians are granted privileges. There’s an evident difference between a march and a marathon in our quest to reach glory. When we march it represents a unified people sharing a common goal, strengthening the wounds of broken neighborhoods, supporting Bahamian owned businesses, creating a fair and equal playing field that respects race, sexual orientation, and religious beliefs while a marathon is quite the opposite. In the marathon we compete unfairly by harnessing a power imbalance where one fragment enjoys unearned privileges or undeserved enrichment and others unjust impoverishment and deprivation.
When we sanction our differences they construct hills of dissociation that weakens our union. We become visually impaired unable to see our fellow men as individuals who share in the birthright of being a Bahamian, expressing the inability to find compromise on the issues that affect our country so deeply simply becauseof our political alliance. In a marathon we become desensitized and lack the empathy to the social ills of others.
3. See how the world marks the manner of your bearing!
The purpose of us being the light house of the world in our region is to produce the emission of light to aid the navigation of vessels, to avert any possibility of danger. Every day, our country must put the supply of oil in the light house so countries can safely sail and set their bearing using the Bahamas as beacon in reach for their future. This lighthouse house must be a symbol of democracy, an ark that bends towards the empowerment of its people, a country where its future is forged on the shoulder of its youth, and where the greed and arrogance of men always compromise to the will of its people.
We diminish our light when we structure the Bahamas as a country that privileges one group over the other, despite the efforts of the hardworking and when the finger print of our children are marked with the life of poverty and violence .
We diminish our light when we fail to realize that sexual abuse against children is sexual abuse against our country’s future or when we neglect to address the distribution of wealth in our country.
We diminish our light when our citizens are prepared to sell the sovereignty of their country to foreigners. We control the rudder of our destiny and the light of our light house. We must never lose our country’s bearing against the waves of change because when we do we’ve lost our sense of purpose and direction.
4. Pledge to excel through love and unity.
When you ponder on what it means to pledge to excel through love and unity you can’t help but to deduce what will happen if we fall short as a nation. When we fail to acknowledge the basic ideologies of our country; we create an empathy deficit where we are impuissant in our abilities to understand and share the feelings of other Bahamians and become deficient in our conviction to be sensitive to the wrongs, the overwhelming sufferings of our people, and the affliction of injustices in our society.
Love is the beginning of patriotism and nation building, when we see diversity as a useful asset to unify our people. The face of the Bahamas is changing and is fostering an environment of dissimilarity, but we must always remain true to love and unity treating everyone in the same manner as any citizen of this country. When we compromise love and unity we decide to judge each other and it prevents us from seeing the common good we share as a country.
5. Pressing onward, march together to a common loftier goal;
No one can undermine the importance of us as a country having one band, one sound, and one direction. When we fail to demonstrate our cohesiveness as a country marching to one sound, we lose our sense of direction in achieving one goal. As we press on we must remember the importance of one band, one sound. It emulates our collective responsibilities as citizens in playing our role in creating a better Bahamas. I will remind our country’s band directors that the members of a band can only play music as good as the directions of its leaders.
6. Steady sunward, tho’ the weather hide the wide and treachrous shoal.
As a country we must always steer on the side of caution never forgetting to dredge the waters what surround our future, because if we fail to do so the shoal will always prevent us from reaching our destiny; and sometimes that shoal could be used as a people, we stand in the doorway of getting to a better Bahamas.
We prevent ourselves from getting towards that sunlight when we fail to teach our fellow men that they will never climb the ladder to a better Bahamas if they do not take their hands out of their pockets. If we never reach our abilities to remove the sands of inequality, hate, oppression, ignorance, and disloyalty, that stands in our way, then our ship will never leave harbor.
7. Lift up your head to the rising sun, Bahamaland, ‘Til the road you’ve trod lead unto your God, March On, Bahamaland.
We have some difficult days ahead, but the difficulty we face will always bend towards the talents of our people. Even though we are small in size as a country the hearts of our people beat to the vitality of our democracy. There are Bahamians confined in poverty trying to lift their heads towards the sun and in these grim economic times the strong hand of education must be used to lift them up. Violence in our communities is a symptom of oppression; it is not the source of it.
We cannot raise our heads towards the sun over the violence in our communities if we do not address what causes it. We must believe that the empowerment of Bahamians, whether in the inner cities or in a boardroom of the highest office, is good for our country; because creating a stronger Bahamas starts with loving ourselves, knowing our history, and teaching our youth, and healing our communities.
In the course of our history, the Bahamas has always overcome the formidable odds and we have never allowed them to define us as a nation. The biggest stagnation towards progress in the Bahamas is our inability to realize that our people are our great assets. Our faith in God should always be our beacon of hope. In our times of discouragement we must never forget challenges are daunting, but they are not insurmountable.
As we march on to our Bahamaland, remember When there are periods of happiness, we must stand together; and when there are periods of crisis, we must stand together. Above all, during our periods of sorrow, we are comforted by the unity and strength of one another. Creating a stronger Bahamas starts with loving ourselves, knowing our history, teaching our youth, and building each other up and always remember before you can try to educate the community, you have to educate yourself first.