Min. Farrakhan urges islanders to 'unite and pull together'

Farrakhan urges islanders to 'unite and pull together'
Virgin Islands Daily
Friday, May 23rd 2008


ST. THOMAS - As the headlining speaker in an event in Ottley Legislative
Hall to commemorate African Liberation Day, Minister Louis Farrakhan told
the people of the Virgin Islands to complete the journey to true liberation
by utilizing their potential and becoming a community of sisters and

"God has blessed you all to gain in a world that is negative against you,
but in time the masses are slipping further and further behind," Farrakhan
said to the throng in the jam-packed chamber. "If we unite and pull
together, we lift the little man. And when we lift the little man, that is
liberation right there."

For about an hour on Thursday morning, more than 100 people in the
legislative chamber listened to Farrakhan, the national representative for
the Nation of Islam. They applauded, shouted and cheered in agreement with
Farrakhan as he spoke of empowerment, education and equal opportunity.

Senate President Usie Richards told the crowd that Farrakhan was a welcome
surprise guest for African Heritage Week. Farrakhan and members of his
family are passengers on radio personality and philanthropist Tom Joyner's
Fantastic Voyage Cruise, which docked in St. Thomas on Thursday.

Farrakhan said his wife, who is a frequent visitor to St. Thomas for
Carnival, has been urging him to come to the Virgin Islands and speak. When
Farrakhan learned that the cruise would be docking at St. Thomas, he
approached the Senate to take advantage of the opportunity.

Farrakhan's visit coincided with African Heritage Week, which is May 18-25.
The week, which has been commemorated worldwide for 50 years, is dedicated
to looking at African heritage, struggles and contributions. African
Liberation Day is May 25.

Throughout his speech, Farrakhan addressed topics ranging from discouraging
domestic violence to the need for a practical education. Most of his speech,
however, focused on empowering black people, especially those in the

As he began his speech, Farrakhan told the audience that he would be
speaking the truth. Truth, he said, is the bedrock on which society must
stand. God's truth is enough to create a society where everyone is treated
like brothers, and people don't resort to violence -Â like the heinous
gangland-style shooting of a patient in Luis Hospital on Wednesday morning.

It's not about guns and revolution," Farrakhan said. "It's about truth that
will create a revolution in your mind."

Farrakhan said that everyone has the potential for true freedom, and it goes
hand-in-hand with the teachings of God.

"When you say, 'I fear God and him alone,' you're free. That's a wonderful
feeling to have in your breast," he said.

During his speech, Farrakhan criticized people who have called him a racist.
Farrakhan said that he is not a racist or anti-Semitic, and anyone who would
call him either of those things fears the truth that he brings.

Farrakhan said nothing negative about people of any color or creed during
his speech. He denounced any sort of prejudice based on skin color and said
that black people should not think of themselves as disadvantaged or
depressed. These kinds of labels, he said, are inaccurate and inspire
negative behavior.

"White supremacy has created in its wake black inferiority, and neither of
these are acceptable to God," Farrakhan said. "No man is great because his
color is white. No man is great because his color is black. If you think
because you are black you are inferior, how can you be what God created you
to be if you have an inferior thought guiding your actions?"

As the child of parents from Jamaica and St. Kitts, Farrakhan said, he has a
special love for the Caribbean and he feels touching the people here is part
of his mission from God. The Caribbean seems to be dependent on imports of
many things, including food - as if food cannot be grown on the islands.
Taking advantage of the resources and potential in the Virgin Islands,
especially the people, will help the people of the territory become more
liberated, Farrakhan said.

"As long as you are dependent on something coming in from somewhere else and
not what this ground can produce, you're a slave," he said.

Several times on Thursday morning, Farrakhan reiterated his belief that
Africans are God's chosen people - and the oldest, wisest and longest
civilization on earth. However, in order for that potential to be realized,
he said, they must advance every day.

"When you look at who you are, the people of God, look at your potential,"
Farrakhan said. "You gave civilization to the world. You gave the world math
and science. You gave it. But we can't live on what we did. We can only live
on what we can do. If you're not part of the 'can do' generation, you live
in history and you're a dead man."

Richards said that he has been acquainted with Farrakhan for more than two
decades, dating back to the controversy that erupted 27 years ago when
several public venues in the Virgin Islands denied Farrakhan the opportunity
to use them to speak. Richards said that the intervention of young leaders
like himself and current V.I. Delegate to Congress Donna Christensen - then
on the Board of Education - was critical in giving Farrakhan a place from
which to address the Virgin Islands.

"How ironic that three decades later, we're not begging for a place for the
minister to speak," Richards said. "The minister is going to speak from the
people's building."

Educators Gerard Emanuel and K. Leba Ola-Niyi also spoke on Thursday
morning's program.