Collins Dictionary defines a Coalition as "a group consisting of people from different political or social groups who are cooperating to achieve a particular aim."1 The Rastafari Coalition can be defined similarly as a group consisting of members from different Mansions of Rastafari who are cooperating to achieve common goals.
Organize and Centralize
During one of His early meetings with Rastafari in the 1960's, it's reported that His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Haile Selassie I, instructed Rastafari elders to ‘organize and centralize’ the movement. And while there have been organizations in the past who hoped to enact this principle, there is still no cohesive unity among the millions of Rastafari worldwide.
Instead, we have become fragmented by theological dispute. The development of Mansions, or denominations, of Rastafari has been good in the sense that it gives everyone in our movement a voice. But it has also been the primary cause of internal division, with each Mansion defending their own theology in reasonings that often turn into hostile debates. Making adversaries of those with whom we should be working to solve the common problems we face in our communities.
So how do we overcome this problem? The only solution is to look to the Teachings of His Majesty, which tell us clearly that "Religion is personal."2 Remembering this key principle, the Rastafari Coalition is working for unity by respecting the right of each Mansion to their own religious principles within the larger context of Rastafari. This has helped us to remove the distractions that divided us, and allowed us to work together in true unity.
Our mission at the Rastafari Coalition is to unite members of the Rastafari community in charitable and religious activities related to the core principles of our faith. To create an environment where all Rastafari can work together, regardless of theological differences that may exist between Mansions. To put aside anything that threatens to divide us, and exploit the areas of agreement and common interest. That is the Teaching of His Majesty. That is the goal we choose to pursue.
Our specific objectives and purposes are:
- a. to put religious or theological differences aside and unite the various Mansions of Rastafari in collective action based on shared aims and objectives,
- b. to engage in charitable and educational activities related to the Rastafari creed: “Let the hungry be fed, the naked clothed, the sick nourished, the aged protected and the infants be cared for,”
- c. to educate the general public about Rastafari.
"The force of this unity must be based on community of interests, so that the individual, without as a result suffering neglect or prejudice, may understand the power of this unity and the advantages to be drawn from it in the protection of his personal interests, whilst at the same time renouncing all personal ambition which would be to the detriment of the common goal."3 — His Imperial Majsety, Emperor Haile Selassie I
We are not a Mansion. Our members come from all Mansions. All are welcome to join us in this work. What we seek is to advance the mission of Rastafari through cooperative measures among Mansions. Through these works, and collective adherence to the Teachings of His Majesty, we can serve both Rastafari and the communities where we live.