I live in a funny little society where things happen and people talk about it in small groups but when it comes to speaking out… well we prefer not to. You see the Barbadian society is made up of very peaceful individuals. It is a conservative society where we do not air our dirty laundry, especially to outsiders. A former British colony that, in some aspects, is more British than the Brits.
I recently had a Human Rights wall at a national youth festival, inviting people to write down what rights they felt people should pay attention to and something stood out for me. Though the wall in no way provided a representative sample, of the few responses I did get the issue of freedom of speech came up multiple times. This caused me to reflect on whether I too shared this view.
At the same time I was trying to decide which area to specialise in. Let’s say I aborted that mission but what I found was a huge need for advocacy, open discourse and increased communication on a whole host of issues. Many forums unfortunately are often filled with buzzwords and are not necessarily attended by the persons they seek to serve. To borrow the term I now learned from ‘Voices of our Future’ what was missing was citizen journalism.
The truth is that I too avoided speaking out on issues that affected me or that I was passionate about. I feared that in a small society I would be singled out, someone would call my parents to complain, I could be shunned and I still needed to hustle for work or I could face victimization. The truth is that these were personal beliefs that I only heard referenced but I did not test for myself. I was not confident enough to speak out because I felt that no one would care. I am not alone; other young men and women in Barbados also echo these concerns.
Determined to build my communication skills I set about looking for a course in journalism; I was broke but hopeful. A friend told me about ‘Voices of Our Future’ and I thought… God has answered my prayers personally.
Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” By lifting my voice and not being afraid to share my own story I hope to inspire others to do the same. This journey led me to share my views on personal and professional development given the opportunities offered through the Internet at a recent TEDx Youth@Bridgetown event. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQESBOTLJjY&feature=player_embedded. I am now working on a documentary to highlight the perception of youth on issues relating to democracy and human rights and getting them to talk.
Through this opportunity, I look forward to discovering my own written voice and encourage others to do the same.Voices of Our Future Application: Your Journey and Vision