Honoring the Heroes, Resisters and Survivors of Slavery
March 25th marked the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. On Tuesday, May 15 2012, a memorial concert takes place at 7PM in the General Assembly Hall at United Nations headquarters in New York City (First Avenue at 44th Street).
The concert will feature reggae, jazz, hip-hop, percussion and other musical styles with African roots.
Headlining the show is the reggae band, Third World (Jamaica), plus Mbaye Dieye Faye and Sing Sing Rhythms (Senegal), NuSoul jazz singer Rachelle Jeanty (Haiti), and Chen Lo and his band Lo Frequency (Brooklyn, NY).
April Sutton of BET fame will serve as the evening’s Mistress of Ceremonies.
History of the International Day of Remembrance
In 2007, the UN General Assembly marked the bicentennial of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade and created an annual observance devoted to remembering slavery and its victims.
Over a period of more than 400 years, an estimated 15-20 million Africans were kidnapped and sold as slaves, a tragedy of immense scope, human suffering and deeply scathing to African Americans today.
Why should we discuss the TransAtlantic Slave Trade today?
Raising awareness about the transatlantic slave trade is also an occasion to cast a light on the impact it has had on present-day society. Many people of color today are still profoundly affected by the remnants of slavery: racial bias, hatred, prejudice and intolerance. Knowing about the history of slavery, and honoring the heroes, resisters and survivors can provide a new perspective and source of pride and motivation in overcoming present day challenges.
Remembering Slavery — A Permanent Memorial at UN Headquarters
An important initiative underway is to erect a permanent memorial at United Nations Headquarters to remind the world about the millions of Africans whoe were violently removed from their homelands and forced into slavery.
The nations of Africa and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), under the leadership of Jamaica, have taken the initiative in working on the permanent memorial with voluntary financial contributions from Governments, individuals, organizations and the private sector.
This is a worthy effort that I invite your active participation. This past Thursday, I was in Battery Park in Manhattan where I came upon The Immigrants monument depicting European immigrants (who voluntarily came to these shores) and an African slave. On my way there, I remembered passing the Holocaust Museum. City historical records indicate that the slave market trafficking in African slaves was located not too far away from the site of both the immigrants monument and the Holocaust Museum. The need for a permanent Transatlantic Slave Trade memorial was never more clear.
The concert is produced by Gordon H. Tapper, a former UN staff member.
This post has been updated.