Women’s month continues to be celebrated in Belize. Today the Women’s Issue Network of Belize (WIN Belize) in collaboration with the University of Belize and the US Embassy celebrated the life of Fannie Lou Hamer, an African American that participated in the black rights movement.
There to dramatize her story was Dr. Billie Jean Young who in 2004 was awarded the “Fannie Lou Hamer On The Road To Freedom Award”. Carolyn Renolds, Executive Director of WIN Belize says that Dr. Billie Jean Young is no stranger to Belize.
“Dr. Billie Jean Young is an activist, a poet and an author. Her activism is working with women who have been abused. She has also been to Belize more than once. She has also been in Dangriga for two years. So, we saw this as an opportunity for during this month of March which is women’s month, to have her here and to share the story of Fannie Lou Hamer with the students here in Belize”.
Dr. Billie Jean Young, actor, writer and Civil Rights Activist presented her one woman show of “Fannie Lou Hamer: This Little Light”.
“Pa’ I was supposed to go to India Norland next Friday, and put my name o the board of registration list. Oh, pawpa, no, we got to eat and sleep and have somewhere to stay, but that’s all we’ve been working for, eating and sleeping. Don’t you think that one of us should go? And pa’, I have already signed my name to the list to go. Fannie Lou Hamer was a Mississippi woman who just walked out of a cotton row and decided that she wanted to register to vote and she wanted to be free and in doing so, she brought a lot of people along with her and she became a nationally known leader, including internationally. She also went to Africa”.
Reporter Emanuel Pech: “So, how did this begin? I knew you have done a lot of performances in her most famous speech. How did you get that idea to celebrate that?”
Dr. Billie Jean: “I heard people forgetting who she was. She died in 1977, and so, there was a coming, new generation of people who didn’t know, and, because she was a woman, you didn’t hear much about her and because she wasn’t educated, she didn’t move into a national position like a lot of the men who were on the movement who were able to. So, people forgetting who she was and I just did not want that to happen. I knew that if I did a one person show, that I didn’t have to depend on other people that I could do the show, and I could tell the story and help her to keep her story going. I wanted her to be remembered”.
Dr. Young has dramatized the life of Fannie Lou and her role in the Black Rights Movement all around the world.