Interview with Garcia Jesus

Tell me about your personal transformation from going to be an activist to being involved in electoral politics.


Well, it was quite an experience. 1980 we were sitting around, we were very active in, in the community but we saw ourselves as militant and very pure and we struggled and we were committed and, ah, you know we made sacrifices. And we kind of felt at that time that electoral politics was kind of establishment, selling out, compromising perhaps principles, on and on. And when we recognized that if we wanted to empower our people we had to find some practical ways of doing it and discovered that the right to vote had been something that people died for, people struggled for. It was a continuation of the movement to get rid of slavery. Came to appreciate that I think because, although our numbers were, were there, there was no power there. We were weak. So, as a result of realizing those things, we had to figure out how do we become players in this game and keep our principles. Well, you discover that once you become a player in that arena you have to do some things. You have to make some adjustments in your life. We had to cut our hair a little bit more. Ah, shave in certain parts of the face that we weren't accustomed to. Perhaps shaving during that time. And, we had to start buying different types of clothing and attire. So we went through some of these changes. We were transforming ourselves not just on the outside but on the inside too and sorting out all of these things and trying to keep one thing in mind, that was to have a clear perspective about what we were doing. We didn't just want to be politicians or political activists in the electoral arena. We were trying to figure out how we became electoral but kept our principles and our morals intact and I think these changes that you saw on the outside were also going on on the inside. We really wanted to be able to feel decent about ourselves.


OK, Stop.