Overturn Jamaica's high court ruling regarding dreadlocks

Overturn Jamaica's high court ruling regarding dreadlocks

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Jada Barrett started this petition to Jamaica's High Court and

Current Context: 

On Friday, July 31, Jamaica's high court ruled that a school is within its rights to have students cut their dreadlocks or deny them entry into school. 

This ruling is the culmination of a two-year battle centered around a then five-year-old girl who was told that she had to cut her dreadlocks for "hygienic reasons" before entering the Kensington Primary School in a Kingston Suburb. 

To read the full story, click here 

Historical Context: 

This ruling that blatantly discriminates against Rastafarian people and people who choose to wear their hair naturally follow a long line of discriminatory acts against the Rastafarian and natural hair community in Jamaica. 

In 1963, after a violent incident between the Rastafarian Comunity and the police of Jamaica, there was a military order demanding all Rastas be brought in dead or alive. They were ultimately arrested and/or beaten and tortured.

Why This Matters?

Jamaica is a country with a Black (Afro Origin) population of 92.1%, meaning that an overwhelming majority of people who inhabit the island are born with natural Afro-textured hair that is being discriminated against. In addition to this, 1% of all people living on the island practice Rastafarianism. Though the Rastafarian is a small one on the island, there is no doubt that they have had a very prominent impact on the island's culture. Famous Rastas like Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, amongst many others, often serve as the face of our culture on a global scale and within the island, have promoted messages of emancipating ourselves from mental slavery and spreading peace and love. 

Under the 'Fundamental Rights and Freedoms' chapter (Chapter 3) of Jamaica's constitution, Jamaicans are guaranteed "every person, regardless of race, place of origin, political opinions, color, the creed of sex, is entitled to certain fundamental rights and freedoms. These include the right to life; the right to personal liberty; freedom of movement; freedom from inhuman treatment; enjoyment of property; freedom of conscience; freedom of association; respect for private and family life; and freedom from discrimination." 

A ruling like the one out of the high court is a direct violation of this constitutional right. It shows that the constitution is a selective document in when and where it can be applied. A country's constitution just is to be equally and justly applied in ALL aspects of life.  

With the ruling coming hours before the island's Emancipation holiday and less than a week before Jamaica's 58th Independence Day, I am urging you all not to solely celebrate, but to sign and condemn this ruling and all other acts of discrimination against our people. Jamaica will not be fully emancipated or independent until we are MENTALLY emancipated, as it is very clear that physical emancipation is not enough. One love is not one love until everyone can live on this island without fear of being discriminated against.    

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