In my living room there is a picture, the one that accompanies this essay. It is of a man that I have never met, but it is where the Tannis family’s immigration story begins. A man given the nickname “The great explainer”, he was a government official for the St.Vincent and the Grenadines. While we don’t know what he was working on or thinking in the picture, we can surely imagine, because his brilliance and ideas have become the motivation and driving force of our emigration. He served as the Deputy Prime Minister (the equivalent of Vice president in our country) for the country during its time being ruled by the St.Vincent Labour Party. They wanted a Western styled economy, and most importantly to avoid the corruption and evil of the bustling drug trade. He fought tirelessly to prevent the spread of the trade, and possibly and paid for it with his life. Not that its proven, but I’ve often heard speculation that it was shot down by greedy men looking to traffic crack and cocaine through Vincentian borders. At this time the first wave of Tannis’s fled the country. It was my father first, sent here to live with his mom’s family at the age of 11. Followed by his mother, and then his aunt and her many children, they came here with the hopes of creating a place for themselves with his ideals. Hard work, honesty, and education were set as a standard for the family. The man in the picture was still on his sinking ship. That man, Hudson Tannis, was my grandfather.
– Zachry Alfred Tannis