Slaves No More
On August 1st, 1834 — 182 years ago — African slaves who called the Caribbean home were no more slaves. At least on paper, they were given the dignity of being called human beings like everyone else; they were given the dignity of no longer being heralded as another man’s property.
Preceding this victory, men and women with skin colored like mine had fought for the freedom to move and to worship. They had fought for the freedom to be educated and they had hoped enthusiastically that their sons and daughters would enjoy existences better than the ones they were forced into.
Today, I yearn that those who fought could see me. Today, I yearn that the eyes of those who danced in the streets when it had been declared that they were legally free could see me. But something tells me that they did. They did through their dreams; their enthusiastic dreams conjured up through hope so big that it could not be killed through disenfranchisement.
I think they dreamt of me walking the streets freely, hopping on planes and and sharing in great intellectual debate in the halls of university. I think they dreamt of me standing on platforms and influencing a generation of men and women, being taken seriously despite my melanin infused skin. I even think they dreamt of me doing this, writing this, and taking up the mantle to declare that we are slaves no more, through the gift of entrepreneurship.
As I bask in the fulfillment of some of the dreams of those before me, I would be naive to think that we are fully free. Today, as descendants of what were once considered to be lesser men and women we still fight to say that we are enough. We fight to say that the countries we hail from are not underdeveloped for the mere fact that they are populated by men and women with darker skin. We fight to declare that we are intelligent enough to run our own countries. We fight to say that we are content with the wealth of people and ideas that grace our shores. We fight.
But for now. But just for today…
Today, I honor the struggles of my ancestors with what I think to be one of the highest expressions of freedom: Entrepreneurship. As an entrepreneur, you do too.
We decide what we do with our time and we decide with boldness and without restraint how we invest the resources that are our minds, energies and passion. Today, through entrepreneurship, we fight to once more solidify that we are, “slaves no more”.