Free Up Di Locs Protest

A rally outside the Consulate General of Jamaica in NYC, to stand for equal rights and Justice, and to voice concerns over the anti-locs ruling in Jamaica.

The resent court ruling, that a child’s constitutional rights were not breached by the Kensington Primary School in 2018, when it requested a then five-year-old’s locs be removed in order for her to enroll in the public institution, has triggered strong reactions from many in the diaspora.

Marcus Garvey once said, “No one goes out alone.“ Our righteous teacher would be proud of the gathering that took place on Sunday, August 9, 2020, at 4 pm.

This gathering was a rally in which a few dedicated soldiers protested outside of the Consulate General of Jamaica in NYC bringing awareness to the matter of unjust legislation that denies an education to deadlocked children of Jamaica at the discretion of the school administration.

The rally lead by roots reggae singer and activist Khalilah Rose, presented performances by artists such as Keisha Martin, I-Militance, Osagyefo, Major Daps, and Khalilah Rose. The Nyahbinghi drummers set the stage at the beginning of the protest.

“African drumming is very important to this protest because it has always been a form of resistance and rebellion to fight oppression within our African culture. Drums are weapons,” Khalilah Rose mentioned as she addressed the small but militant audience through a black bullhorn.

Speakers from the Nyahbinghi House and the UNIA-ACL such a Ras Alrick, Ras Ivi Tafari, and Brother Jose provided background information and a dynamic perspective on how human rights are being violated by the ruling that stated it is legal for a school’s policy to stop a child from being admitted to a public or private school based on the child having deadlocked hair.

Dreadlocks is a form of natural hair that has been popularized by the Rastafari movement and has been embraced by people of African descent all over the world.

“This came as a surprise to me. In this modern-day era, we are having to deal with some real archaic thinking,” commented Khalilah Rose.

She continued to say, “Even though, the judges stated that this ruling does not affect Rastafarian children and would only apply to non-Rastafarian citizens with locks, I believe it is still our fight.”

“We taught our brothers and sisters to be proud of their natural hair. We were the first to wear our locked hair in resistance to a white-washed culture that we were forced to embrace.”

“For us to refuse to take up the mantle and continue the fight, we would be falling victim to the Willie Lynch System that continues to build barriers among black people. The fight must continue.”

“This is just the beginning. One of the protesters suggested we flood the Jamaican government with letters of disapproval. I believe that is our next step.”

Free Up Di Locs Protest” by Ikey Bulan for The New York Carib News (Archive)

Photography by Chin (@RootsmanChin a.k.a. @VisualsByChin)

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Event Date: 2020-08-09

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