Our efforts at promoting, definining and re-defining ourselves once we arrived on”foreign” soil has never ceased.
We have sometimes have to use unorthodox means and avenues to accomplish our tasks.
Among the avenues utilized by Alkebu-lanese persons was the sports arena.
Perhaps this has been one of our most successful medium in showcasing our physical prowess, gifts and talents.
In Republic Trinidad & Tobago athletics is fairly popular.
Most of the interest though ( in my opinion) is at the school level.
Intra and inter school athletic prowess and rivalry are celebrated and supported by many.
At the National level though it appears that the attitude is why the individual selecting the sport and athletic alternative don’t do something better with their lives.
Very few athletic clubs are able to attract particularly the poor and general working class.
So that in 1976 when Hasley Crawford entered the 100m finals as an Alkebu-lanese Caribbean National on Canadian soil, it may have been difficult then for him to recognize the tremendous significance his presence in the race would have, the outcome and the impact it would have on all worldwide.
Canada was a nurting ground for many Alkebu-lanese consciousness movements.
Trinidad & Tobago as a direct consequence of the Sir George Williams University event had through its citizens confronted the racist attitudes manifest in Canada and in Trinidad & Tobago via its commercial representative- The Royal Bank of Canada. As some may recall students at Sir George Williams University had filed racist complaints and charges against a member of the University teaching staff. As a consequence of the poor response of the University to the charges made by student on this racist issue, students organized and occupied the University’s computer center. This act eventually led to”deportation” of Trinbagonian citizens participating in the protest actions and occupation of the computer center . So that when Hasley arrived in Canada he was wearing either known or unknown to him more than one badge.
As history would have it Hasley earned/won his first International medal at Edinburgh in 1970 at the “British Commonwealth Games” just after our Black Power Uprising/Revolution in Republic Trinidad & Tobago.
So with or without intent, the 100m victory by our own Hasley Crawford was much more than a Trinidad & Tobago victory. In fact this accomplishment is also recorded as the first Caribbean accomplishment of this magnitude where we gained a gold medal in 100m sprint .
As we commemorate, celebrate and observe Alkebu-lan History Month lets us all give thanks to our many contributors.
If you did not give thanks yesterday it is not to late today.