Garvey’s Exoneration Should Be On The Table

According to press reports, United States Vice-President Kamala Harris is set to meet with Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders on June 8.

The topics for discussion will be centered around “pressing global concerns, including climate change, energy management, food security, and the process of rebuilding in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Press Secretary Clint Watson.

However, this meeting should include the exoneration of Marcus Garvey as an agenda item.

Harris previously met Caribbean leaders at the June 2022 Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles.

At that time, cooperation with the Caribbean, the pursuit of shared prosperity and security, and celebration of common bonds were advanced.

We have seen recently where the First Vice-Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (NY-09), and Rep. Hank Johnson (GA-04) introduced legislation calling for the exoneration of Marcus Garvey and identifying him as a champion for the liberation of people of African descent.

“The world deserves to know the truth about Marcus Mosiah Garvey and the truth about Black history. I was raised under the teachings of Marcus Garvey. I was raised to believe that we must come together to do the necessary work to improve our communities. And I was raised with the Garvey commitment to social service, including an abundance of faith in God,” said Rep. Clarke.

Clarke also argued, “It’s time to reclaim Garvey’s legacy and accomplishments as a human rights activist before Congress, America, and the world. This resolution exonerates Garvey of his unfounded charges and calls upon President Biden to recognize and denounce the racist smears against him and his legacy. America must right these wrongs and restore Garvey’s legacy. And the time to do it is now.”

The truth is there have been several calls from members of civil society, academia, and the political class for Past Presidents to act in the interest of justice to exonerate Marcus Garvey, the Jamaican-born Black nationalist and leader of the Pan-Africanism movement, from trump-up charges anchored in racial prejudice and discrimination.

“The exoneration of Marcus Garvey is an idea whose time has come,” said Rep. Johnson at the time of the introduction of the resolution earlier this year.

“The utter lack of merit to the charges on which he was originally convicted, combined with his profound legacy and contributions to Black history in our country – it’s time to right this fundamental wrong. I’m honored to cosponsor this important resolution with my esteemed colleague Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, particularly during Black History Month and as the campaign to exonerate Marcus Garvey has been steadily growing, it’s time to correct this injustice,” he added.

However, to date, action has yet to be taken, and unless CARICOM leaders keep up the pressure and reinforce this issue, it will likely be swept under the rug again.

The CARICOM meeting scheduled for next month with Vice-President Harris is as good a time as ever to remind the Biden Administration that it has unfinished business on the table where Caribbean people are concerned.

This call is even more poignant as the Vice-President of the U.S. is of Caribbean roots and Jamaican in particular.

Now, the question is, will these leaders bring this issue to the fore, or will it just be another talk shop where everything but nothing gets done?

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Readers Bureau, Contributor

Edited by Jesus Chan

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