By Michael Lashley
We can resolve to do things as soon as we see the need. That way our resolutions have immediate consequences: We adopt the attitude required, identify the appropriate strategy and take action in such a way that our timing brings effective results.
That is why I do not subscribe to the concept and practice of making New Year’s resolutions. My resolutions are made at any time, all year round. It is also relevant to consider that resolutions are often the foundation of our ongoing commitments to ourselves and others.
On that basis, I focus on presenting an agenda for Caribbean people, set by Caribbean people and echoing the sentiments of Caribbean people. I integrate our Caribbean perspective into a broader Canadian perspective and integrate the broader Canadian perspective into our Caribbean perspective, in a continuous process of cross-fertilization.
In so doing, I extend the usual mandate of commentaries from three to four: to inform, entertain, educate and advocate. I am intent on advocating for positive change, improvement and overhaul where the current situation is undesirable or outright unacceptable. I refuse to limit myself to diversity issues, and insist on addressing the full range of challenges that all Canadians face. International issues and challenges are also highlighted from time to time, in the context of the global awareness of the inter-connected nature of life today and the fact that effective solutions frequently require coordinated international solutions.
That activist approach is combined with my determination to practise honesty and integrity. So I call a spade a spade, without pushing the limits of political correctness to the point of being indecent, disrespectful or insensitive to the feelings and good reputations of others.
On at least two occasions, I did not hesitate to call out U.S. President Barrack Obama when, in my opinion, he was being too timid in the fight against racial and social discrimination. I had to be harsh when he was not taking enough substantive action to correct the situations in which the police and judicial authorities in his country were not being held accountable for abusing the rights of Black people and for the use of excessive force in “apprehending” them. Black lives do matter. All lives should matter equally!
That same integrity and directness prods me to speak up in Canada when a federal policy is so objectionable that I have to Harp(er) on its malodorous and harmful effects, not to mention the ways in which that policy abuses the constitutional rights of Canadians. I do the same if a provincial government proposal is being presented as a Win/Wynne policy and there are reasonable grounds to fear that Ontarians will lose more than they will gain from it. When mout(h) open and (s)Tory jump out in a municipal misstep, I will also be there to set the record straight.
I feel that same sense of responsibility to stimulate our Caribbean community’s direct involvement in our newspaper. Our Caribbean Camera Publisher and President Anthony Joseph has made a public commitment to maintain this participatory approach: he encourages our individual readers and our community organizations to send in their messages to us. We can carry all that information into the wider community: ideas, events, projects, opinions, concerns, complaints challenges and successes.
In that vein, my year-round resolutions include devoting space in my commentaries to propagate positive and inspiring images that celebrate our community’s victories, our heroes and our enterprising and creative youth who are opening up pathways to success for all of us.
Happy New Year to one and all!