Her Life celebrated in an International Educational Journal
Following her death in September 2020, writers from across the globe have paid tribute to “Comrade Sister” Phyllis Coard. Ranging from friends, supporters, family members, academicians and others, the plethora of articles have shone many lights on the achievements of this amazing woman, who served humanity in the United Kingdom, Jamaica, Grenada and elsewhere. British readers were provided with a fulsome testimonial by Jacqui McKenzie on the 3 October 2020 in the Morning Star newspaper.
The internationally respected journal, Postcolonial Directions in Education,recently published a testimonial by Professor of Education, Anne Hickling-Hudson of Queensland University of Technology Australia, and a lifelong friend of Phyllis.
We urge you to read this appreciation in order to get a rounded picture of Phyllis Coard. We carry a snippet of this perceptive description.
“…My schoolfriend Phyllis was more than a friend, a wife, a mother and a sister. She was a distinguished Jamaican woman who fought for the rights of women and children in the Caribbean. She suffered wrenching hardships that arose from her struggles for justice. Phyl attained greatness in her life, both in what she achieved and what she endured. A report from the e-newspaper Now Grenada has this succinct outline of her achievements while she worked in Grenada, her husband’s birthplace:
‘Upon her passing in early September 2020, Phyllis Coard’s contribution as an advocate for Women’s Rights in Grenada unveiled a silent hero with a legacy that is bringing benefits to a generation of women born after her conviction: Maternity Leave in law, Mobilisation of Women’s Cooperatives and women’s involvement in non-traditional occupations such as driving heavy duty construction equipment. The work of Coard goes back to the 1970s. From very early days she began community work, founding the River Road Day Care nursery’ which ‘was set up primarily under a series of programmes which the New Jewel Movement (NJM) had put in place called ‘The Economic Enterprises of the People”’...
The newspaper noted that Phyl had also organised training for young journalists in Grenada, and helped put in place systematic, regular radio and newspaper journalism.
“A generation of women born after her conviction”. This phrase introduces an important part of my memoriam for Phyllis. I will provide historical context for what many newspapers describe as the fact that she was the lone woman convicted in 1983 for the murder of Maurice Bishop. After that, I will go back to reflecting on what her loss means for her family, friends and the region…”
Unchained: A Caribbean Woman’s Journey Through Invasion, Incarceration and Liberation tells the story of what happened to Phyllis Coard when, after four years of relentless destabilisation, the US invaded revolutionary Grenada in 1983.
The successes of the Revo’, particularly the fact that it happened in a small and impoverished country was too much for the US to bear. As the author of many of the gains made by and for Grenadian women, the invaders singled Coard out for special treatment. A summary of her book can be found at https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/c/unchained-phyllis-coard or https://bit.ly/36qmx1d. Copies of the book can be obtained at https://amzn.to/35lyTbv.
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