America is essentially a diaspora nation, usurping the DNA of the world’s cultures. Jamaica is part of this history. As such, it is critical that every Jamaican-American, young and old, have a better understanding of the extension of their population, culture, heritage, and resources in their acclimation and assimilation into the American fabric. Jamaicans will not be able to make an effective contribution to the American landscape without having an intimate self understanding.
After 50 years of independence and migration, the time has come for the self-realization that America is here to stay and Jamaica is only a plane ride away. For many, the security of one, two, or three jobs to sustain the family has transcended into sending the kids to a higher level of education and moving the Jamaican community to trans-generational success. This individual success, however, does not translate into community success. Unlike immigrant communities from Cuba or Israel, the Jamaican entrepreneurial success story has not fully manifested itself into civic activism and political benefit. Given one more generation, this is likely to change in the next episode of 50 years.
For every family that migrates overseas, we must ensure that we nurture an environment and infrastructure that ensures their successful and productive acclimation. If there are more viable and sustainable families, businesses and organizations, it will bode well for Jamaica and Jamaican-American communities at many levels. Diaspora development is more than maintaining remittance flows, it is about building relationships across generations.
Besides being the fastest nation on Earth, Jamaica has a bounty of talents to offer America and the rest of the world. This conversation of diaspora development is bigger than any political party, private sector agenda or self interest. It is about the future of a nation for the next 50 years. If we move closer to perfecting this diaspora experiment, we will bestow a host of lessons to the world. We are one family and nation estimated at over five million strong worldwide. If you wink, you may miss our success in 9.58 seconds or less and before you know it, you will be transported to the year 2062, 100 years later.
On this day of August 6th, we celebrate 50 years of the Black, Green & Gold with a birthday greeting from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and look forward to the next 50 years of lightning success on and off the track.
Marlon A. Hill is a Miami attorney with the law firm of Delancy Hill, P.A. and the immediate past Jamaican Diaspora Advisory Board member for the Southern United States.