By Lara Pickford-Gordon
Archbishop Jason Gordon visited Sea Lots last Sunday interacting with residents and prompting them to articulate a “dream” for their community.
“It have plenty people out there who have a dream for your community. It might not be your dream. It is important the good citizens of this community have a dream …unless you have a dream for the community you will not remember why you are gonna do the work we are gonna do…” he said. Without a dream, he went on, they would not have the discipline every day to action the commitments made. The Eternal Light Community has been working in the Sea Lots area for the past few years and organised the event which brought out more than 300 residents.
Sea Lots, Beetham and communities of East Port of Spain, Cocorite and Diego Martin held demonstrations after the June 27 police killing of Joel Jacobs, Noel Diamond and Israel Clinton in Morvant. On June 30, Ornella Greaves, a resident of Beetham Gardens died from gunshot injury sustained while standing with protesters along the Churchill Roosevelt Highway.
Archbishop Gordon asked the residents to think of words describing what they want to see in their community. They responded: peace and harmony, unity, love, togetherness, happiness, order and respect, discipline, prosperity, consideration, gratitude.
He said, “If we have to have peace, we have to have order and if we have to have order, we have to have respect so respect order, peace, love are all part of one big family.”
Archbishop Gordon referred to US civil rights leader Rev Martin Luther King Jr’s ‘I have a dream” address. He noted King did not live to see his dream realised but on the 50th anniversary of that speech, Barack Obama said as a black man running for President of the United States the dream was starting to come true. The happenings in the United States with the Black Lives Matter cause shows that society still has a “long, long way to go”.
Archbishop Gordon said the dream for Sea Lots has to be planted in residents’ bellies and taught to the children. The dream enables the community to see beyond what exists at present.
“We know in the morning why we are not going to throw rubbish on the ground…we will go and find a decent day’s work and expect a decent day’s pay….we make sure the children go to school even if it is getting harder and harder at home”. He added that people will know why they struggle and make big sacrifices today for tomorrow to be better.
Archbishop Gordon told residents as parish priest in Gonzales, the dream of this community was displayed on walls at different places. “We started moving towards that dream. Because we did that in 2006 peace happened in Gonzales and war stopped…..there was no killing for two years because there was a dream.”
Addressing the doubts which prevent people from believing they can make a difference, he asserted, discipline and consistency were necessary. Respect must be shown to each other and harmony built. The children are taught “we are not the community we used to be”.
The words given by the residents were prepared as affirmation statements: We live in love for God and each other; Work for peace and harmony; Show respect and discipline in our families and gratitude in our actions; We are a community under God. Archbishop Gordon said, “If we do all of that, prosperity will come to the citizens of Sea Lots”. He however, differentiated that prosperity was not an aspiration but a “a result of right actions”.