MDGR LAW is excited to announce that Melissa D. Goolsarran Ramnauth, Esq. has been published in Blooming Through Adversity.
Blooming Through Adversity is a collection of short stories written by women who have shared the "Brown girl" experience. "Through first-hand accounts, tremendous insight is given into various hardships faced by these diverse, extraordinary women, where the resilience of the human spirit is witnessed."
Curator Tiffany Manbodh "hopes that while reading this book, you will not only find yourself represented by these stories, but will also find solace and strength through these women’s truths to lead a more authentic, bold, and empowered life on your own terms."
Melissa's story explains her journey to owning her own trademark law firm and writing weekly articles on West Indian history. She emphasizes that everyone should pursue their goals and education, and that it is possible even when faced with hardships.
West Indian women account for some of the most powerful people in the world. Publicly, like Kamla Harris. And privately, much of the remainder. Women have faced an uphill battle for an equal status since time immemorial. There may have been exceptions in some societies. However, the women in the West Indies faced more obstacles than fairness.
First, from 1662-1834 between 3-4 million Africans were enslaved on plantations in the Caribbean. Enslaved African women were initially outnumbered by 2:1, and victimized with cruel overseers, hard labour, and imposed physical restrictions. “Women's inability to maintain the pace of work required by plantation managers during pregnancy, their need for recovery time after childbirth, and the needs of their young children to be fed, cleaned, loved, and integrated spiritually and socially into the human community, all brought them into conflict with the demands of the owners and managers of the plantations on which they worked.” (Diana Paton, Newcastle University). The inverse occurred when slavery ended and owners wanted women to bear children to sustain the system. Contemporary reports indicate that birth rates actually declined in the Caribbean around abolition, and it was likely caused by poor nutrition and strenuous conditions.
Following abolition, the British imported hundreds of thousands of Indian indentured workers to harvest sugar in the Caribbean. Indian women, too, faced abuse similar to that of enslaved African women. Coolie Woman, by Gaiutra Bahadur, recounts how recruiters often tricked Indian women into indentured servitude. They were also preyed upon by captains and sailors during the three-month journey at sea. On the plantations, they faced attacks from the owners, overseers, and their own spouses. The highly uneven ratio of Indian men to Indian women created a power vacuum whereby women were so prized that the men resorted to violence to try to have one for their own. The British overlooked the fact that their purposeful disproportionate importation contributed to the violence against women.
First Lady Arya Ali’s status, coupled with the access to information via social media, allows West Indian women and girls to view a West Indian woman in a prominent position. United States Vice President-Elect Kamla Harris, similarly, affords the same recognition for Indian, Jamaican, and African-American women and girls. The ability for a girl to view a woman of her same background in a high profile position provides an immeasurable sense of self worth, identity, and confidence. It is hoped that this upward trajectory of opportunities for West Indian women continues.