• OPA UK

Friends gather virtually to pay tribute to late Earl Cameron

Industry experts, officials, family and friends joined a Zoom call last month to pay tribute to the late Earl Cameron, one of the first black actors to star in a leading role.

Over 30 people gathered in the intimate digital space to reflect on the life of the pioneering actor, who passed away at the age of 102 in July. A short programme consisted of a number of speeches, prayers and reflections.

One of Earl’s daughters opened the event by sharing anecdotes of lessons learned from life with the actor. She explained how he passed along important life lessons, sharing: ‘he would say: Each time you enter a room ask yourself the question: “Are there any people of colour here? If not, why not?” He would go on to say this is the age of unity in diversity. Humanity will not progress without unity in diversity. All people must be represented. There is one race, the human race.’

Film archivist Dylan Cave, who works at the British Film Institute, then spoke about the significance of Earl Cameron’s filmography as one of the first black actors to break the "colour bar". With a career spanning six decades, Mr Cave expressed how fascinating it is to follow a body of work that is so significant in contributing to breaking down stereotypes and prejudices.

"Are there any people of colour here? If not, why not?” He would go on to say this is the age of unity in diversity. Humanity will not progress without unity in diversity.

A final speaker talked the actor’s relationship with the Bahá’í faith. She said: ‘When I first met Earl, I was struck by his warm and giving nature. He would always speak about using his platform to talk about Bahá’í faith and its focus on the oneness of humanity, sharing the importance of the dignity of every human being and the crucial role of service in his life.’

Among the attendees was Kimberly Durrant, Director and UK Representative from the Government of Bermuda London Offices.

Siria, one of Mr Cameron’s grandchildren, who contributed a short chant, said: ‘The memorial devotional for my grandfather was a very uplifting and dignified event, much like the man himself. The [Office of Public Affairs] put together a beautiful and fitting programme, that very much captured his pioneering spirit.’

This digital space is part of a series started by the Bahá’í Office of Public Affairs in the wake of coronavirus. The initiative creates a virtual space for friends and contacts to gather to share prayers, poems and quotations to inspire reflection and constructive action. All are welcome to join the participatory space.

The next devotional space to be held by the Office of Public Affairs will take place in September.

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