The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ex-Teachers Association of New York was, clearly, not oblivious Sunday of reported racist remarks attributed to President Donald J. Trump against Haiti and African nations.
While celebrating their 35th anniversary, at a gala ceremony at Grand Prospect Hall in Brooklyn, members of the Brooklyn-based group joined widespread condemnation of Trump’s alleged remarks at the White House over a meeting with lawmakers on immigrants.
During the meeting in the Oval Office last Thursday, Trump reportedly referred to Haiti and African nations as “Shithole countries.”
“We’ve gotten a new designation with the last couple of days,” said Jackson Farrell, president of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ex-Teachers Association of New York, sarcastically, in addressing the sell-out patrons. “We’re now ‘S--thole countries.’ Had we kept the federation and linked up with Africa, we [Caribbean nationals], probably, would not be in America.
“As we celebrate Dr. King’s Day, everything is possible,” added Farrell, a retired public school teacher in Brooklyn. “Together, if we work hard, we will overcome [invoking words of the slain civil rights leader, the Rev. Dr. Luther King, Jr.].”
But the group’s long-standing treasurer, Al Phillips, was more blunt shortly afterwards, not holding back in referring to Trump’s alleged remarks.
“Ladies and gentlemen, you know the stereotype,” he told patrons. “Mr. President [Trump] said people like these come from ‘Shithole.’ I’m not even upset, because I don’t follow ignorance.
“The ‘shithole’ is an important organ; and, if we can function without that organ, Heaven help us,” Phillips added. “We know the benefit of a ‘shithole’, because we’re important.”
In his formal address, printed in the souvenir journal, Farrell noted that nationals in the Diaspora are also “operating in a difficult political climate,” stating that “we have no option but to organize and vote.
“Now, more than ever, we need to be our brothers / sisters’ keeper,” he said. “We have to smile at the storm and keep Christ in our vessel.”
But he said that political unrest is not only present in the US “but also in the homeland.”
“We need a loving togetherness in SVG [St. Vincent and the Grenadines],” Farrell said. “We need to rise up and look out for the least among us. In the USA, we need to do the same.
“We have to overcome the obstacles of racism, sexism and greed,” Farrell added. “All things are possible if we believe, but faith without works is dead.”