A DAY ON - Martin Luther King Jr. day, Errol Barrow day, and a call to action for Idle No More


What do Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., past-Prime Minister of Barbados Errol Barrow, and Idle No More have in common? They are all representative of activist movements that changed the course of history, and all have scheduled days of recognition coming up this week.

Martin Luther King Jr. day is a celebration of the life of Dr. King and his diligence towards the Civil Rights movement between 1955 - 1968. Let's take a look at a timeline of his life:

MLK Infographic

(Used with permission from OnlineCollegeCourses.com )


Errol Barrow was the two time Prime Minister of Barbados and led Barbados to Independence in 1966.

In his famous Mirror Image speech Barrow asked Barbadians to reflect on the image they had of themselves. It was made clear in his speech that the culture's general self-perception had degraded. PM Barrow refers to the people talking of leaving Barbados for other lands. He challenged Bajans to stand up for themselves and to think of ways the country could truly be independent. He discouraged citizens from depending on handouts from the US, did great work to make education accessible to the people, and diversified industry so the nation was not solely dependent on sugar from the plantations. Barrow advocated that the people of Barbados "...would be able to run their own affairs, to pay for the cost of running their own country, to have an education system which is as good as what can be attained in any industrialised country, anywhere in the world."

He also warned , "...when a government steals from people in the way of consumption taxes and takes that money and spends it on their own high lifestyles, and unnecessary buildings, then that government not only has contempt for you, but what is most unfortunate, you have contempt for yourself, because you allow them to do it."

One must take ownership of the change they desire to see.

What kind of person makes a respectable leader for change? Barrow states, "the very fact that a man has made the effort and taken the time to improve himself shows that he has the kind of calibre which would make him a useful representative of the people."

When you reflect on yourself what do you see? If you see a person who is concerned for their health, you will help to create a healthy world around you. If you see a person who values independence, pride, and collaboration, you will help to create those attributes in the communities around you. If you see a leader, you will stand up when the time comes to lead. If you see a humanitarian then you will not allow your rights and the rights of existing and future generations to be taken advantage of or taken away. It's time to take stock, so I'll ask you again. When you look in the mirror what image do you see?


On January 28th, one week from Martin Luther King Jr day and Errol Barrow day, will come the Idle No More World Day of Action. I am inspired when I review the timeline of Dr. King. I am challenged by the movement and impact of past-Prime Minister Barrow. I wonder, in 20 years what will the timeline of Idle No More look like? What leaders, demographics, and causes will go down in history as being affected by this movement; a movement the world is joining (London, New Zealand, the US, and Sweden to name a few?)

Are you a part of the movement that will shape the future of Canada?

(Other posts of interest: Martin Luther King Jr.: A complete life, as featured on BlogHer)  



Shawna Percy-MacDonald

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