Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Today makes our history

IT is not cliché over the years to observe the impact of a few (of many) blacks on our society, especially for Black History Month, both as a nation and a part of a global network.

We often speak of Marcus Garvey and Martin Luther King Jr; but we must also recognise the emergence of other individuals. Their significance to paving paths while at the same time being inspirations to many not only presently, but in the near and distant future.

TEENage wants to recognise these people.

We start with our very own Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller. Simpson Miller is a born fighter and determined political leader, who has been a part People's National Party since she was a TEENager, and becoming that party's leader is immensely significant.

Throughout her career, Portia Simpson Miller has had a reputation as a voice for the poor, the unemployed and is an advocate for women. Simpson Miller created political history when she was made the country's first female Prime Minister, back in March 30, 2006 to September 11, 2007. The first female head of state in the region.

Next on our list, is noted Jamaican businessman Michael Lee Chin.

In 2011, Lee Chin was featured on Canada's Legacy Poster for Black History Month which highlights the contributions and achievements of African-Canadians.

Lee-Chin's outstanding achievements in business and the depth of his philanthropic initiatives have earned him one of Jamaica's highest National honours, the Order of Jamaica. Examples of Lee-Chin's philanthropy include a handsome donation of $200 million from the National Commercial Bank's Jamaica Education Initiative and most recently the gift of the state-of-the art Hyacinth Chen School of Nursing to the Northern Caribbean University.

It is fitting that in an article highlighting the contributions of black persons in our contemporary period, we also give recognition to Usain Bolt, the fastest athlete the world has ever seen. His athletic prowess and World Record-breaking performances in consecutive major track and field spectacles (Olympics and World Championships) both the 100 and 200 metres sprints has raised the standard in athletics to a new level, and left the world in awe.

While we acknowledge the impact of our natives on our society, we show appreciation to those who hail from shores beyond ours who still hold meaningful positions. President of the United States Barack Obama is one such example.

An African-American man, ascending to the halls of the White House just 40-plus years after the desegregation of the United States of America isnothing short of historic.

Lastly, the significance of Oprah Winfrey is to be noted.

Born to an unwed TEENage mother, Oprah Winfrey spent her first years on her grandmother's farm in Kosciusko, Mississippi, while her mother looked for work in the North.

One of the most recognisable faces of the past two decades, Winfrey has received world acclaim in the realm of entertainment. As chief executive officer of Harpo Productions (her multimedia corporation) and host of her own television talk show, she has achieved unprecedented success. Aside from the abundance of television accolades, Harpo's projects have a heavy emphasis on education and philanthropy.

While this reflects only few of the thousands of blacks whose significance is recognised globally, it illustrates the astounding work of a people who are resilient and resourceful, yet humble and unselfish with their contributions.

These lives have become embossed in the history of Blacks around the world, which not only revolves but evolves as it continues to break ceilings. May they continue to provide inspiration, not aligned to a particular race, but generations infinitum.