Senate President reflects on Workers and West Indies

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ST. THOMASSenate President Myron D. Jackson encouraged all during this weekend, in between hurricane preparations, to take a moment to reflect on the way labor movements and the West Indies have enriched the Virgin Islands during two important holidays. 


Labor Day, which is celebrated on the first Monday in September, also falls on a lesser known local holiday, West Indies Solidarity Day. 


The first is held annually to recognize the creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements nationally of workers and their contributions to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of America. It became a national holiday in 1894. 

West Indies Solidarity Day was adopted locally in 1964, to recognize the contributions of the West Indies to the life of Virgin Islanders, as specified in Title 1, Section 171, subsections d to f of the Virgin Islands Code. 

Senate President Jackson commended groups such as the Smith Bay Community Action Foundation of the annual Labor Day Extravaganza and Parade; and the Umoja Caribbean Union Inc. and Virgin Islands Youth Advocacy Coalition Inc. of the revival of West Indies Solidarity Day for hosting activities this weekend. 

“Our historic contributions to the advancement of the political, social, and economic development of the West Indian and African American community in this Centennial year should always be remembered,” Senate President Jackson said. “Blue and white collar workers made their mark in civil rights and government affairs on the national scene.” 

Virgin Islands leaders such as Hubert Harrison introduced Marcus Garvey to the black Harlem community; Ashley Totten worked behind the scenes for the advancements of people of color as part of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters; and Geraldo Guirty was instrumental along with others Virgin Islanders in New York for improving conditions for those at home and abroad,” Jackson said. 

“We’re all interconnected. The impacts we make as a people are felt locally as well as globally and we are influenced and strengthened by our unique Caribbean diversity,” Jackson said. “Additionally, we have a rich history of labor movements in the Virgin Islands with the Labor Revolt of 1878, the Coal Workers Strike of 1892, and the work of David Hamilton Jackson and others that make Labor Day particularly relevant to us here in the territory.”