Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Dr. Cornell West - "Jazz Man of Ideas"

Justice Murray Sinclair - Truth and Reconciliation Commission (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

There has been a confluence of events in the media this past week, that for me, have a real synchronicity. .

The first being the findings and report given by Justice Murray Sinclair from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, regarding the treatment of First Nations people, torn from their families, who were placed in residential schools, tortuously abused, treated less than human, and as many as 6,000 children died. Justice Murray Sinclair described this as being "nothing short of cultural genocide."

The second event, is the opening this month, on June 6th, of the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre located in Birchtown, Nova Scotia’s South Shore, the location of the first Black Loyalists to arrive in Canada.
After reading the Book of Negroes by Canadian writer Lawrence Hill, and then watching the mini-series, I began to have a deeper understanding of this historical legacy, and that in so many ways directly parallels the cultural genocide that Justice Murray Sinclair refers to in his comments concluding the outcome of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. I have never underestimated the brevity of these histories, but to learn the depth and breadth of the injustice perpetrated is staggering, beyond comprehension for most of us who come from a shameful, colonial history.

Last night I had the pleasure of hearing a powerful and poignant address and interview on CBC radio with Cornell West on the program Ideas. Dr. West's talk was for the Axworthy Distinguished Lecture Series on Social Justice and the Public Good, on Social Justice in a Secular World. Dr. West had such a way of summing up and clarifying the injustice within our western world that spoke volumes, and I am certain touched all who heard his powerful and hopeful message.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission with Justice Murray Sinclair listened to thousands of survivors painful personal stories, that spoke the truth. Simultaneously with the opening of The Black Loyalist Heritage Centre this month, in Birchtown, Nova Scotia, also tells the painful stories of truth.

Cornell West clarified very succinctly for me, the connection between the historical legacies of cultural genocide, that Justice Murray Sinclair emphatically spoke of, and that apology must be followed by action.
Justice Murray Sinclair speaks the truth, as does Cornell West. I hope and pray that we will all fight the same fight, speaking for the truth in the face of all injustices.

Brother Cornell West

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