The Maroons were Africans who escaped from enslavement and established their own free communities in the Caribbean, Central America,South America, and North America. Maroon communities were based upon traditional African values and traditions. Today, their descendants still form distinct peoples (sometimes states within a state) in several parts of the Western Hemisphere.
Today’s youth are experiencing a serious crisis in values. They are overwhelmed by pervasive images in the media and popular culture that promote hedonism, violence, individualism, materialism, and consumerism. As the values of the nation’s youth begin to be transformed, exaggerated feelings of alienation, hopelessness, powerlessness, boredom, resignation, and spiritual emptiness become evident. Attachment to these values leads to unprecedented increases in negative social trends, i.e., crime, violence, alcohol and drug abuse, risky behaviors leading to teenage pregnancy, and alarming rates of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. In addition, youth are exposed to images that do not support healthy identity development. Youth of color, in particular, are vulnerable to these negative and stereotypical images. By age seven, many males of color have internalized these negative self- images which profoundly shape and affect their self-images and identity development. Trapped in self-fulfilling prophecies, these youth are placed at extreme risk for negative behaviors and adverse outcomes.
The development of a Maroon Consciousness will assist youth in combating distorted images and reconstructing their self-images. Most importantly, the Maroon Consciousness will help today’s youth develop a new set of sustainable beliefs and values that they will use as adult leaders to create alternative societies in the future.
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