Addressing social ills, including the rising increase of hunger throughout Grand Bahama communities, will be the focus of this year’s Men United March and Family Day.
This is the eighth year Reach Out Youth Organization (ROYO) will be staging the event, which is set for Whit Monday – May 21.
President of ROYO, Dudley Seide noted that the 2018 march is named in honor of veteran educator Cecil Thompson and organizers will highlight several marching bands and their directors for the insurmountable work that they continue to do locally.
This year’s honorees include – Leslie McDonald, Legends Band; Fredrick Jervis, Orion Pathfinders Band; Richard Williams, Pioneers Band; pastor Barry Morris, Church of God of Prophecy Band; Derek Stubbs, Bahamas Youth Brass Band, and Corporal #1268 Hanson Ferguson and PC #2625 Kelvin Harris of the Urban Renewal Youth Band.
During a press conference on Wednesday (May 16), Seide said, “This year we will be marching to bring awareness to hunger, we will be bringing awareness to the homeless in our community and we will be marching against the social ills that we are facing within our community, such as crime and murder.
“We are asking men, fathers and their kids to be a part of our march this year. This year, we are adding a little twist to the march – if you have a bicycle, a car, motor bike, we want you all to be a part of the march this year. What we want to do is show unity, here on the island of Grand Bahama.
“I feel that if we bring all of those folks together, it will show that we care for the homeless, those that are still living in their vehicles, who are sleeping in the bush. We just want them to know that we are here for them. We just ask the wider community to please support us. We are asking everyone to come out to the Lucaya Cricket Club, at 9:30 a.m. this coming Whit Monday (May 21).”
He added, “Also for the first time this year, we will be adding another twist, where we will have a car and bike exhibition on Taino Beach. It will be a fun day for the entire family.
“This year we have partnered with the Diamonds of the Kingdom (DOTK) sisters group, where we will host a free feeding program, this coming Saturday at the Reach Out Youth Organization (ROYO) located on Banyan Lane.
“Often times we have rallies and people show up … we are asking all political parties to be a part of the event, all teachers here on Grand Bahama, as well as unions to be a part of this march. We want the entire island to participate. A lot of times we forget those that are shut in, homeless and hungry. There are a lot of persons that are going to sleep hungry; we just want to bring awareness to this.”
Seide challenged residents to come together and show their love for their brothers and sisters.
Noting that he is humbled that the annual event was named in his honor, Thompson said, “Once again, I am highly honored that the Annual Reach Out Youth Organization Men United March is named after me. I am so proud of the work that Dudley is doing, even if he were a graduate of some other school; but it makes it even more significant that he is a proud graduate of the great Hawksbill High School. The work that he has been doing in the Grand Bahama community and beyond it is commendable.
“I can recall the very first time that Dudley came to the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, when I was in charge, and he had a meeting with myself, Bishop Joseph Hall and Rev. Lindy Russell to indicate what he intended to do with ROYO. Since then, the name Dudley Seide has become synonymous with working with challenged young people, persons who are hungry and homeless … the list goes on.
“I want to salute you on the great work that you have done and continue to do, without complaining. There is only one Dudley Seide that I know on Grand Bahama, for all I know, in all of The Bahamas. The work he does with not the brightest and the best, but for the most part those who are challenged, those who are left behind in this magic city.
“I certainly wish to make a special appeal, to every principal on the island, from West End to East Grand Bahama … Dudley and Mrs. Seide would have prepared letters and I would have hand delivered to every primary and high school principal on Grand Bahama, inviting them. I now extend that invitation to preschool principals and all other principals as well, so that we cover all of them, to join us,” said Thompson.
“I also want to invite all parents – we are not only talking about men, but mothers as well, to participate in the short march from the Lucaya Cricket Club to Taino Beach.
“I wish to thank all of the corporate sponsors who have provided the necessary assistance to Mr. Seide for the excellent work that he is doing. I want to appeal to other sponsors to come on board. This may not be the most glamorous event on the calendar of Grand Bahama, but it is the most touching, in my opinion, because of what it highlights.
“It highlights those persons who otherwise, others would just walk past, but, Dudley Seide, has a reputation of uplifting challenged boys and girls, those experiencing any number of social ills in the country. I want to commend him for that.”
Bishop Hall, ROYO Coordinator added, “I am always grateful to God to be a part of something this wonderful. This is a moving event, an event where God is first. This is the Eighth Annual March that we are having in honor of Dr. Cecil Thompson, one of our senior educators here in Grand Bahama. We are looking forward to seeing the entire community of Grand Bahama on the march. We want to send a message to the world.
“We want the entire community of Grand Bahama to know that we at ROYO love not only our community where we live, but the entire island of Grand Bahama. We are looking forward to seeing every one of you out there on Monday at 9:30 a.m.”
He also encouraged all pastors and youth coordinators to come out with their churches and associations to support the ROYO Annual March.
President of the Grand Bahama Christian Council Rev. Robert Lockhart, senior pastor of Calvary Temple Assembly of God pledged his full support and endorsed the upcoming events.
Erseline St. Louis, Diamonds of The Kingdom (DOTK) CEO said that her organization is pleased to partner with ROYO for the upcoming events.
“DOTK is a newly formed youth organization that started in January of this year. I am very excited to be a part of the two day events scheduled, for Saturday and Monday.
“On Saturday we will have free eats and drinks for the people of the community, here at the ROYO Center. We invite the entire community to come out and be a part of the event. We will be serving breakfast between the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.”