Thousand Man March ignites desire for change

 To galvanise the community towards change was the motivation behind the first of what will be a yearly Thousand Man March. Those involved in the planning of the event say it is a movement they are keen to see continually inspire  persons with faith hope, love and responsibility, as well as rid society of many of its ills.
    According to Organiser Phillip Jackson, “It is important to maintain the mission of the march even though it is over now.
   “We, as the Thousand Man March Committee, have met since the event to discuss how we can continue to feed the change we see so many endeavouring to undertake.”
   Jackson said amid the debris of unflattering news stories about the Cayman Islands’ problems; he could point to many shining examples of people in our community who were true heroes and servants of their fellowman.
   “People like Collin Anglin, Felix Manzanares. Richard Christian and Christin Suckoo are young men that are leading by example. They see it as a challenge to live a life that inspires others and it is very encouraging to see.”
   Jackson said he felt that the number of wayward Caymanians was very little. However, he acknowledged that this minority had a large impact on the mood and image of everyone in the Cayman Islands.
     “They are the ones making the headlines,” said Jackson who praised organisations such as the YCLA for endeavouring to create platforms from which young Caymanians can show the depth of their character.
   Hundreds of men took to the streets of George Town for the March, meant to empower males and encourage a stance against violence and crime, on Saturday, February 6.
   The hike started out at the Cricket Oval in George Town and followed the “high street” up Shedden Road, through George Townand was interrupted only briefly by the rain.
   Those on hand seemed un-phased however, and the celebration reached a climax when the men arrived at Heroes Square for an intense rally that included a speech from the Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush, who is also a self-confessed devout Christian.
   The premier told those on hand that the gathering and planning of such an event was ‘extremely timely,” adding that as a society, we have to consider what actions to take to make existence more meaningful.
   Bush said this was important whether people were Christians or not.
   “We as men are the most potent examples of what life is like in the Cayman Islands,” said. Bush, adding that young people learn from watching their families for clues.
   The premier said the problems our society was experiencing were coming directly from the home.
   “These issues start in the home. It is not the school, church, the Legislative Assembly or the television leading people astray but rather lack of proper guidance in the homes,” declared Bush.
   He implored the pastors on hand to preach a message of responsibility in their respective churches and had a message for parents who were passively raising their children.
   “If you don’t stand up and tell your children right from wrong, tell the police what you know or tell the people who need to know what is going on,  then hell is for you, because that is wrong.”
   The evening continued with songs of praise sang by the worship band on hand and featured several other guest speakers, as well as video presentations.
   Pastor Cassius Feare of Victory Tabernacle said he feels the future holds great things for the men of the Cayman Islands despite the present challenges the country’s men- in particular- were facing.
   He said moving forward the Thousand Man March Committee would be scheduling parenting workshops, seminars with focus on family, retreats and other forms of positive fellowship designed to assist males in understanding and accepting their roles.
   It’s time for the young men in the Cayman Islands to “man up” and be responsible for their actions,” said the pastor.
   Youth Worker and champion of many youth causes, James Myles said he was touched to see the turnout and was equally impressed that those on hand braved the rain in order to stand up for change in the Cayman Islands.
   He explained that the issues men face can be quite complicated and unfortunately, can be made more difficult by an image they feel they have to portray that in turn will protect them from embarrassment, rejection or loneliness.
   “Many may feel they have to act a certain way to gain the acceptance of their peers, whose standards may be even lower than their own.
   “What we need are more role models standing up in front of these young men and leading them by example. They need to have someone to impress, who is worth impressing and who will set standards they need not be ashamed in attaining,” he said.
    The situation facing Cayman’s men seems to be one that only they can change for the better. Everyone must be accountable to some degree for the example he/she is transmitting, according to the men from the Thousand March Committee.
   They say the future can still be bright, citing Cayman’s deep Christian heritage as the way to set the rudder straight.
     They added that when someone’s child is lacking in values it is everyone’s problem and as a result, the goal of the Committee and the responsibility of all should be that no one is left out and all have an opportunity to learn good values, obedience and temperance.
   Some of the other plans in the works for the Committee include splitting into groups that cover the districts and are responsible for rallying the men in a particular area.
       In addition, Pastor Cassius Feare said in 2011, the group wanted to engage some other Caribbean countries and in 2012 have a “Million Man March throughout the Caribbean.
   He said this movement started in the gem of the Caribbean, referring to the Cayman Islands, adding, “Let’s show them we are serious about family and positive growth and change for our communities, Islands and countries.”