Minister Farrakhan delivers African Liberation Day message in Virgin Islands
Farrakhan urges islanders to ‘unite and pull together’ (Virgin Islands Daily News, 05-23-2008)
ST. THOMAS, V.I. (FinalCall.com) – St. Thomas celebrated African Liberation Day with a special visit by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan May 21 to the Senate legislature in their chambers where the Minister spoke before a standing room only crowd.
“The world wonders, ‘Can we ever rise?’ The enemy has put us in such a terrible condition but they fear one thing; the presence of truth and someone unafraid to speak that truth regardless of the consequences even if that means your life. This world is built on truth,” he said.
“Look in the mirror of truth and realize that we are not yet free,” the Minister explained, “I thank God for our Senator (Usie Richards) who has the heart and courage to not bow down.”
Twenty-seven-years ago when Minister Farrakhan was invited by students to speak in St. Thomas the group couldn’t find a place that would allow him to speak.
“More than two decades ago when Minister Farrakhan came to our shores and simply wanted to speak, public facilities denied every place for the Minister to speak,” said Senate President Usie Richards, who was a student at that time.
“It took an intervention by the Board of Education led by Donna Christian-Christiansen to demand that a public facility be opened so we could hear him. Three decades later we’re not begging for a place. Minister Farrakhan will speak at the people’s building.”
Not only did the Senate president defy history by allowing Minister Farrakhan to speak but he also scoffed at Internet blogs by local Jewish leaders who asked the Senate president to explain why he was allowing Minister Farrakhan to speak in the Senate chambers.
“We’ve entertained ministers, reverends, priests even those who call themselves fathers and rabbis,” said Mr. Richards. “Rabbi Stone, you have my phone number and email. My numbers are public. You don’t have to blog me, I can be found. We’ve allowed all religions to give an invocation.”
“I’m an equal opportunity employer. My chief of staff is a member of the Nation of Islam. I’ve got Seventh Day Adventists, Catholics and Moravians on my staff and they work in my office.”
The controversy surrounded whether or not the Virgin Islands had spent government funds to host Minister Farrakhan’s visit.
“The legislature has not spent one red cent to have Minister Farrakhan here. We should be grateful and thankful for the Virgin Islands hospitality given to his family,” said Mr. Richards.
“It was the Minister himself who said I’ll be docking here and I would like to speak. He knows its been a long time since he’s spoken in American’s paradise, playground. He’s welcomed to our Virgin Islands.”
Minister Farrakhan was cruising on the 9th Annual Tom Joyner Fantastic Voyage trip, which left Miami May 18, and made stops in Grand Turks, Turks and Caicos Islands; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas and Coco Bay, Bahamas.
The cruise is a fundraiser that allows the Tom Joyner Foundation to contribute $1 million to college students. It’s called “A Party With A Purpose.”
The Minister told the audience, “We are at the beginning of the rise of the Black man all over the planet. A man has to be a tiller. Cultivate what’s inside you and others. If you’re not in the business of cultivating, you’re not the man to bring in a new beginning.”
“Any man that’s not a producer is not the man God intended you to be,” he said, “Everything new and different is coming from math, science and engineering. The problem with schools is that it’s like going to a restaurant and being given dog food while the people wonder why you won’t eat.”
He explained that once you look critically at the education system, you would see that it needs overhauling.
“Measure the value of your education by the productivity of your life,” he said.
For many in the crowd this was the first time they had heard the Minister live and in person.
“He was on topic trying to enlighten the people. He was concise, precise and strong in his words,” said Arthur Newton. “It was my first time hearing him in public. I’ve listened to DVDs and tapes before. It was so good. His message was consistent.”
Renholdt Jackson caught a plane from St. Croix to hear the Minister. “It’s the voice we need to hear in this valley of the shadow of death. If you know God, you know His words. If you love God, you’ll love him too.”
Senator Ronald Russell, from St. Croix, was inspired and moved by the Minister’s words.
“It was timely because we are in limbo in terms of a direction with focus and purpose for the territory (Virgin Islands). Money confuses that whole issue and the Minister spoke on how money can distract you from making wise decisions. A lot of money is coming here.
“Very rich billionaires are buying up a lot of land and property for their own purposes. Other than token jobs, we’ve never benefited. If we as leaders really want to lead we have to make better decisions and not just give away our property and resources to the highest bidder.”
He added, “His speech was so timely because we’re Black people governing Black people. We don’t have any excuse. Today was unifying and it was great.”