By Francine Buchner TORONTO: A US-based author and educator says if black people are to move forward, they have to go back and rediscover their history. Professor Eric Thomas of Michigan was the keynote speaker at the 13th annual Dr. Marin Luther King Jr. celebration, organized by the Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA), which was held on Saturday, January 7, in Toronto. Thomas underscored the need for black people to see where they are today and to have a vision of where they can go. He told the youth in attendance that black people were enslaved and he charged them to correct their teachers if they are being taught that black people were slaves. sincere ignorance Quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Thomas said, “There’s nothing in the world more dangerous than sincere ignorance.” He urged patrons to take time to stop, think, and reflect. “That we must do something significant and do it for others; that we have no excuses to not perform to our fullest potential because we have what our forefathers were forbidden and that is access. Why do I have multiple streams of income? — because I can. Why do I write an e-book? — because I can. I dare you to be the next maker of Facebook and Twitter, instead of being on it,” Thomas told those in attendance. He said he thought it was a dream when America elected its first black president, Barrack Obama. “I didn’t think it would happen in my lifetime,” he said. Thomas said the morning after the election he had a whole different walk and a different feeling of himself. The youth activist and motivational speaker said black people have to go even further back in history than Haiti and Jamaica, and go back to the pyramids and Africa in their rediscovery. “Let’s start back when we were doing math before there were mathematicians.” Pauline Christian, president of the BBPA urged the patrons to leave the celebration inspired, motivated, and ready to act. Senator Don Meredith delivered greetings on behalf of Jason Kenney, Canada’s minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism. Margarett Best, Ontario’s minister of consumer services, brought greetings on behalf of Premier Dalton McGunity who said Dr. King’s vision is still relevant today as it was then during the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s and in that moment of the “I Have A Dream” speech. Other dignitaries who spoke included Deputy Police Chief, Peter Sloly who underscored the importance of education and active citizenship; Dr. Eric Pierre, consul general of Haiti who reflected on Haiti and the Haitian Revolution; and George Seth Ramocan, consul general of Jamaica, who spoke of the genesis of resistance, from Nanny of the Maroons in Jamaica to the Haitian Revolution in which Jamaican Maroons contributed to the Haitians defeating Napoleon Bonaparte.