Garvey’s Birthday Celebrated In Fort Lauderdale, August 17, 2009, Florida

Monday, August 17, was proclaimed Marcus Garvey Day by the City of Fort Lauderdale, in celebration of the 122nd birthday of Jamaica’s first National Hero, the late Right Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey, at the annual Garvey Extravaganza held at the Joseph C. Carter, in Sunrise, Florida.

A proclamation paying tribute to the National Hero was presented to Mr. I. Jabulani Tafari, of the Rootz Foundation, organizers of the annual celebration, from the Mayor of Fort Lauderdale.

The presentation was made by Ms. B. Barber and Mr. T. Deal of the Sunrise Parks and Recreation Department.

The two-day celebration, under the patronage of Jamaica’s Consul General, Mrs. Sandra Grant Griffiths, began last Saturday (Aug. 15) with a variety-packed program paying tribute to Marcus Garvey. Events included cultural performances of song, dance and drama featuring several artists from Jamaica and the USA as well as art and craft and ethnic cuisine displays.

A community forum was on Monday (Aug. 17) culminated the two-day activities. Guest speaker Ambassador Dudley Thompson, Pan Africanist, former Jamaican government official and diplomat encouraged his audience to unite with a purpose as “today we are at a critical junction in history”, he added.

Ambassador Thompson indicated to his audience that it was time that the teachings of Marcus Garvey be included in the educational curriculum in schools. While he reminded the large audience of Garvey’s inspiration to empower people of their greatness, Mr. Thompson paid tribute to one he described as a ‘mass mobilizer’ who brought together the largest number of Blacks worldwide, through his organization, the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA).

He praised the audience for the large turnout at the events celebrating Jamaica’s National Hero indicating that their presence was because of the impact Garvey had on our lives.  He also challenged that as Garvey taught us about self reliance and unity of purpose, therefore, we have a responsibility to our youth to encourage them of their greatness – to believe in themselves and to focus on their personal development individually.

Ambassador Thompson embraced the vision of the Jamaican government in support of the Jamaican Diaspora movement encouraging nationals to “unite as one, supporting ourselves abroad and in support of our nation,” continuing to bring Jamaica to the world stage, he emphasized.

As she praised the legacy of Marcus Garvey through his movement for African redemption, Consul General Grant Griffiths also called for the celebration of our modern day heroes and their achievements.

She was paying tribute to the triumphs of Jamaican sports heroes so far, at the World Athletics Championships (IAAF) currently being held in Berlin.

According to the Mrs. Griffiths, the confidence of world champion Usain Bolt is part of Garvey’s teachings, “an example of the will and confidence to achieve, changing the world’s perception of a young black man.”

She praised the organizers of the annual Extravaganza, the Rootz Foundation of Fort Lauderdale, noting that the program of cultural and social enrichment has continued the legacy of Garvey across the Diaspora.

A Lifetime achievement award was presented to Ambassador Thompson for his work and lifetime devotion to the African struggle.  Making the presentation, Priest Douglas Smith, President of the Rootz Foundation, spoke of the Ambassador’s commitment to the teachings of Garvey in an effort to inspire persons globally about Pan Africanism.

Ms. Mzuri Moyo performed a recital of ‘The Story of the Forgotten People’ a one-woman presentation by Fannie Lou Hammer.

A community reception immediately followed the forum.