“Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement” – Nelson Mandela.
In 1833 Thomas Buxton presented the Emancipation Bill in British Parliament, and on August 1st 1834 the Act was passed and British West Indian slaves were granted freedom. On August 1st 1985 the Government of Trinidad and Tobago declared Emancipation Day a national holiday in order to celebrate the abolition of slavery. Emancipation day is an opportunity for the nation to reflect on the struggles our African forefathers endured under the slavery system; the horror of the Middle Passage, the hardships of life as a slave in the West Indies and the separation of families are just a few of the many sorrows of slavery.
Today, many see this day as one of celebration. Here in Trinidad and Tobago we recognise our rich African heritage as many local cultural bodies host events showcasing the food, language, dress, music, dance, folklore, religion, and crafts of this vibrant and strong ethnic group that have firmly planted their roots throughout the Caribbean and the world. There is a deep sense of pride as one reflects on the road to freedom and the numerous accomplishments our brothers and sisters of African ancestry have achieved. A visit to the Lidj Yasu Omowale Emancipation Village in Trinidad is a wonderful opportunity to expose our youth to the rich heritage of our African ancestors.
Today, as we reflect on the struggles and hardships of our forefathers let us unite as one people, fulfilling our collective destiny of freedom, peace and prosperity for all.
And as we celebrate the 178th Anniversary of Emancipation in Trinidad and Tobago, the United National Congress Women’s Arm takes this opportunity to extend Emancipation Day greetings to every Trinbagonian at home and in the diaspora, and all the people of the Caribbean, and Africans globally, as we strive to keep these cultures alive and well in our society!
Marisa V Ramlogan
Public Relations Officer
UNC Women’s Arm