Editorial: A parade is in order

It was a most worthy suggestion – that a parade ought to be staged through the various villages from whence hail TEAM ANTIGUA ISLAND GIRLS.

Perhaps this very weekend or next weekend. There is also thinking in some circles that the parade should end with a big bash at the Antigua Recreation Grounds or the Sir Viv Cricket Stadium. We here at NEWSCO certainly endorse that thinking. Indeed, there are some who are suggesting that this bash is the real ONE NATION concert.

Of course the idea is not new; certainly not in other parts of the world. In Jamaica, for example, national heroes are feted with huge celebratory parades and much flag-waving and pageantry. New York’s winning teams—Giants, Yankees or Mets – are thrown a big ticker tape parade down the so-called ‘Canyon of Heroes’ (Broadway) if they win the Super Bowl or the World Series. The members of the team are usually given the ceremonial keys to the city and lauded by the thousands who line the parade route to cheer. It is a time when people of all colours, creeds and classes, every political persuasion and stripe, come together, albeit for one shining moment of brotherly love and goodwill.

What TEAM ANTIGUA ISLAND GIRLS accomplished is phenomenal and their can-do spirit is an inspiration to us all, especially our young and even more so our girls. A parade through the various villages and towns would be such an unforgettable and motivating event that we cannot think of any argument against it being staged. Can you imagine young boys and girls looking and pointing at these ordinary black girls, just like them, who did an extraordinary something in an extraordinary way? Can you imagine when those little boys and girls grow up to be world-changers themselves, how they would recall that the TEAM ANTIGUA parade urged them to think outside the box and do the unthinkable? Can you imagine Antiguans and Barbudans looking back and fondly recalling where they were and how they felt when the TEAM ANTIGUA ISLAND GIRLS parade passed?

Apart from that, as mentioned earlier, it would be a terrific unifier. With the historic TEAM ANTIGUA ISLAND GIRLS landing at the Dockyard yesterday, there was nary a dry eye or an unmoved person in the assembled ‘Welcome Home’ throng. Any talk of “I am of Paul . . . and I am of Apollos” was nowhere to be found. Apparently, and thank God, those who traffic in that type of divisiveness stayed at home that day. Would that they remain under the moss-covered rocks and in the termite-infested woodwork where that sort of bile resides. We no longer want that in our body politic. At the parade, folks will be dressed in TEAM ANTIGUA regalia. They will be waving and sporting TEAM ANTIGUA memorabilia and, of course, our national flag. No political colours allowed! We are first and foremost Antiguans and Barbudans. The rest is simply “vanity and vexation of spirit!”

Interestingly, in crossing the Atlantic, our girls retraced the steps of our ancestors, one of whom was the mother of the famous Harriet Tubman. Tubman was born into slavery in 1820 on a plantation in Maryland. Not willing to accept her lot in life, she forged her escape then returned to free scores of other slaves via the famous UNDERGROUND RAILROAD. She was an ordinary black woman who accomplished much because she was not willing to accept the limitations that life placed upon her.

Much like Kevinia, Christal, Junella, Samara and Elvira. Actually, she is quoted as saying, “I freed a thousand slaves; I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew that they were slaves.” How sad! We are urging Antiguans and Barbudans to not settle! Do not accept the constraints!
Think big and dream big! You can do it! TEAM ANTIGUA ISLAND GIRLS prove it! And as Tubman remarked, “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength (and boy, did they ever!), the patience (when the Atlantic doldrums and contrary winds prevailed), to reach for the stars to change the world.”

Since the departure and arrival of TEAM ANTIGUA ISLAND GIRLS some 48 days ago, Antigua is not the same. They have changed us in a very real and dramatic way, and we owe it to them to throw a big parade in their honour. And yes, as they have suggested, from here on there will be no looking back – “We will keep rowing!” (TEAM ANTIGUA ISLAND GIRLS quote)