It’s Emancipation Celebration once again and this year Acting Chief Cultural Officer Jacinta David, is calling on all Dominicans to do exactly what the theme suggests.
The theme for the annual event which commemorates the abolition of slavery on the island is ‘Breaking the chains of mental slavery’ and David wants residents to begin breaking the chains today.
“Bob Marley says ’emancipate yourselves from mental slavery, none but our selves can free our minds’ and so Emancipation this year will focus on breaking those chains by creating awareness,” she said at the media launch of Emancipation Celebration 2015 at the Old Mill Cultural Center on Wednesday. “Break those chains of mental slavery beginning today.”
According to her the celebration is one of freedom and the struggles of ancestors such as the maroons and others who wanted slavery abolished.
“It is an occasion to pay tribute to those who gave up their lives in that struggle and those who died during the Atlantic crossing and as a result of inhumane conditions and brutality of slavery. It is an occasion to celebrate who we are as a people, and a time to reflect on our freedom,” she added.
David noted that the theme affords an opportunity to explore the detrimental effects of slavery on us as a people, on our health, the manner in which we socialize, the treatment of our environment, our cultural values, as well as economically.
“Have you ever wondered why lighter skinned blacks are treated differently from darker skinned blacks? Why many blacks still feel ashamed of their color and basically do everything to make themselves look dissimilar to the way they were born?” she asked.
She added, “Like bleaching their skins, having plastic surgery on their faces or straightening their hair. Why we still see blacks as inferior and white as superior, why as a child we prefer white dolls over black dolls? Why it that a large proportion of black males feel that it is okay to have children with multiple women? Why is it that many of our young women are single parents? How about a strong woman syndrome?”
The Chief Cultural Officer argued that as black people “we still struggle with a history that has told us that our lives were cheap and that if we don’t value our lives, then you won’t value that of others,” which she said is visible in the streets as young people are killing each other every day.
“We are all created in the image and likeness of God,” David stressed.
Emancipation Celebrations run from July 22nd to August 9th 2015.
Some of the main high points are:
July 22-August 9th 2015-Press conference and Opening of Art Exhibition at the Old Mill Cultural Center
Thursday 30th July 2015-Film and Rap Session at the UWI Open center from 7:00 pm
Friday 31 July 2015-Emancipation Walk and Concert
Saturday 1st August 2015-Golden Drum Awards ceremony at the Arawak House of Culture
Friday 7th to 9th August –Nature Island Literary Festival at the UWI Open Campus