Monday, June 7, 2010
Reflection-PRIDE- Black History Month in Panama 2010
Reflection- PRIDE- Black History in Month in Panama 2010
My reflections are usually longer because I can find the words. This one is short because my heart does not want to let go of the time I just spent at home.
I think this time the pictures will speak for me and the word PRIDE will jump off the page at you.
Pride after this trip means,
My cup runeth over for everything that it means to be Black Panamanian, to be from a people that continue to get back up as things keep coming at them, to see our ability to be inclusive as we move forward, to be determined to change the image of our dear city Colon and to dance and sign as we celebrate our full self.
Proud to be a part of such a special project-I was home to film my part in the documentary film, Cimanoraje en Panama by Toshi Sakai. After meeting with Toshi for the first time I felt his love for the people of Portobelo and the Congo community. That love alone made me say, yes.
Filming in Portobelo and Isla Grande was simply special. Sandra Eleta, our host is a Portobelo treasure. She has dedicated her life to this community. You see it in her eyes and feel it in her presence.
Coming together with Toshi, Sandra, Sheila, Arturo, Janina and Ali, was a celebration, a validation, of my deep connection to this community. The people show and express nothing but love and all you can do is give it back.
Proud to be Felix Modestin’s daughter- Not many of us get to share our work, our passion with our parents. My Dad has joined me on this journey to seek truth, justice and celebrate our blackness. There is nothing better than to see the pride in his face. It brings out the Frenchman in him, the Zonian in him and the Modestin in him. This has rubbed off on his wife, Melsa, who finds such joy in dressing like an African Queen and that she is.
My work has given me the opportunity to see my father on another level. Painful stories of the impact of segregation on our family keep pouring out. Joyous stories of his childhood in Gatun speak to why when they get together, there is nothing but love in their faces. The pride in our family history allows him to take me on a ride to see the location of the Port in Calle 5 where my grandfather and many other Caribbean workers arrived to Panama.
Moments with my father are a realization that this is bigger than me, bigger than us. We are telling a story of a people that had no voice.
Proud to be from Colon- On the official day of Etnia Negra en Panama May 30th, Colon shines. As I shared before I left, it is a day that we stand taller on the shoulders of our ancestors and for that one day, all the bad that is said about Colon gets put aside for us to celebrate our blackness.
We do it in style as you will see. The women are gorgeous and the men are handsome. We dance a lot. Boy do we dance!!!! One of the parade songs by the Banda Municipal was “Brown Girl in the Ring.” You could not help but high step with the beat.
Planning this parade and all the events takes the entire year. We have a wonderful group of people in the Fundacion Etnia Negra de Colon. One of the members is a childhood friend, Selvia Miller. Selvia was always determined to do something good and she has. I am so proud of her and the other members. Selvia’s leadership has expanded the celebrations into the schools where there is a deeper conversation and community events which is inclusive of all the black communities in Colon.
All this pride is seen and felt all over Panama. Being home to share with my people, the people that have shaped me, builds nothing but a heavy heart of love.
So I stand proud and share with you, the Black Panamanian community. Enjoy!!