“I am cognizant that this honour is one that is coveted by Caribbean women, particularly in the academy. I am fully aware that there are many women, within and outside of academia – women who are on the front lines of the pursuit of gender justice; women who hold high office in regional and international organisations; women who work tirelessly in crisis centres to relieve suffering; women who are only known to those whom they help; women who are committed to both the creative arts and political activism – who are entirely deserving of this award. I am, therefore, humbled by this honour. While the award is often given for a lifetime of excellent work, I consider myself somewhere in the middle of this journey, not the end.
I am honoured to join a most distinguished group of Caribbean women who have preceded me. Over the years I have interacted with some of these women such as Dr. Peggy Antrobus, Dr. Joceylin Massiah, Dr. Rhoda Reddock and Dr. Eudine Barriteau in advancing the cause of women, all of whom have forwarded to me their good wishes. Further, I am pleased to say that this award, not well known in The Bahamas, has now kindled the interest of many young and older Bahamian women.”
This is an excerpt from Marion Bethel’s speech on acceptance of CARICOM’s 11th Trienniel Award for Women. Bethel is a Bahamian attorney, human and gender rights advocate, filmmaker, and poet. She is the director, writer, and producer of Womanish Ways – a film about the Woman’s Suffrage Movement in the Bahamas. As a writer, she’s been published in numerous journals, including Poui, BIM, the Caribbean Writer, and the Massachusetts Review. She’s been a James Michener, Cave Canem, and Bunting Institute fellow, as well as a guest writer at the Miami International Book Fair, the Medellin international poetry festival, the St. Martin Book Fair, and others. She’s a winner of the prestigious Casa de las Américas Prize for her collection Bougainvillea Ringplay.
I want to say a big, big CONGRATULATIONS to Marion whom I’ve been fortunate to meet when we both attended the Caribbean Congress of Writers in Guadeloupe. Here we are with Jamaican-British writer Leone Ross at that event.
Marion, centre – sort of, flanked by me, left, and Leone Ross, right, in Guadeloupe 2013. (Photo by John Robert Lee/St. Lucia)
CONGRATULATIONS AS WELL TO MICHELE HENDERSON…an amazing singer from the nature isle (Dominica) whom I’ve had the opportunity to see perform live a time or two (no pictures though). I can share this catchy and anthemic song she composed all the way to victory in the 40th anniversary CARICOM song contest. Brava, Michele!
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