Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Reaching Back for Colon- Proyecto Yo soy Colón

Reaching Back for Colon- Proyecto Yo soy Colón Colón our beloved city with sixteen streets is filled with many stories and flavors. They are still many untold stories of this Central American treasure. For years many famous people from all over the world visited “The Pearl of the Caribbean, The Small Golden Cup (La Tacita de Oro)” There was something about Colón that was magnetic. People came here and did not want to leave. Our people are warm and loving. Our women were and still are beautiful with an undeniable elegance and our men are handsome and charming. We know it will be a long process that will take us deeper into our past to truly see the future we so deserve. As the African proverb states, “You can’t know where you are going unless you know where you come from.” We celebrate all this glory yet in our current situation, we need to ask the following questions; 1. What happened to Colón 2. Where did we or how did we lose it? 3. Why is the first impression of this treasure negative? 4. What do we need to do to change this? Now is the time to reflect on one of our obstacles? Most would think our response would be money yet today our response is our self-esteem. It is our ability to see ourselves in the mirror and recognize those men and women that we still look up to. For many who didn’t grow up in this Colón or have no reference to it, it will mean removing what has been the lasting impact of the Willie Lynch letter, for us to begin believing that we can, in the words of Marcus Garvey, “untie the psychological rope.” The other side of this coin is who is leading in Colón. Who is speaking in the best interest of all its citizens? This is a great concern as we begin to look deeper into our situation. Colón is the home of some of the great minds of not only Colón but of Panama. We hope to speak of those who influenced us and we will continue to name and celebrate many more as we develop Proyecto Yo Soy Colón. From these sixteen streets great teachers, professors, doctors, lawyers, engineers, businessmen, and politicians were groomed and blossomed. They contributed to the prosperity of the city. Many then and now have left seeking other opportunities in the US and all over the world. However, it is important to continue to clarify that there was no dictatorship that caused the migration. This topic, will be another long story to share where we hope to bring you closer to the voices of those directly impacted. Our local Politicians have minimized the needs of the people by offering and sometimes “buying out” our people with food and a bottle of rum. Once they are voted into office, they dismiss the opportunity to truly organize our people so that they can become self-sufficient. Today we are in no position to wait for them to come to us. Now is the time for us to do “for self”. We need to organize so that we are not waiting for them to answer our questions. We have people in very good positions handpicked by the current government. The question is; are they moving in the best interest of Colón? We need more active leaders, ones that don’t fear thinking outside of the box. We need those that don’t only think that closing the streets is the solution for everything. We ask; how do we change the mind set of our people? How do we, reach back and believe? Many promises have been broken. This has led to a society with little hope. We sit and pray that the next leader would be better and would move in the best interest of Colón. It is time to fight for US! Believe in US! LOVE US! The US we are talking about are the Colón natives in and out of Colón. Wherever you are standing today, never forget what got your there and always say, it had something to do with these sixteen streets. In looking back we need to self- reflect on our role in our current situation and what we can do to change it. It is time to share our talent with the youth of today. We can begin to share what it was like to be a student at Abel Bravo during the time of Mr. Vicente Mackintosh or of Ms. Mauge and an athlete coached by Henry Jones. It is time to give back! Not money but time and presence. We need to bring back the energy of family Sunday’s when the Bomberos played music in the park. They need to see US, to believe in US. There is nothing more impacting than the sound of the person that says, “I graduated from this school and now I am_____” Colón needs motivators, artist writers that will begin replacing the visual and the story line with “and we will succeed” It is this mentoring, not the criticizing that will feed these warm souls. We need all our passion to make that wonderful “one pot.” We look to you joining us and walking down these sixteen streets and saying, “That is where so and so lived, he or she was great.” If a government position is where you will do best then do so in the best interest of the people. If you have a talent to share then please share it. The Colón we still see in the midst of all of these challenges, is the Colón with the smile of the elders sitting in the park and that loving sound of, “Morning, have a good day dear” Mau Martinez and Yvette Modestin Mission—Proyecto Yo Soy Colón, will embrace our internal strength to empower the next generation of Colonenses, The Project will focus on changing the mindset of the people by addressing the internal struggles faced by a long history of racism and denial. We look to empower our minds using community dialogue, film, intergenerational dialogues, videos and mentoring. Moving with this energy, our community can begin to use its own strength to build up and stand up. Proyecto Yo Soy Colón, was founded after Mauro Martinez and Yvette Modestin responded to the negative and unjust representation of Colón by Juan Williams. They are other fellow Colonenses in and out of Colón that form the collective that will come together to move the Vision and the Mission of the project forward. Copyright 2012

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