The Dominica Reparations Committee in collaboration with The University of the West Indies (UWI), Dominica Broadcasting Station (DBS), House of Nyabingi, the National Youth Council (NYC) and the Public Library Services is planning a series of events to celebrate the occasion.
The Chairman of the Dominica Reparations Committee, Dr. Damian Dublin, says the theme for Black History Month this year “Know Thyself”, aims to encourage people to find out about their heritage and culture and to be better informed of their history.
“We think its important to focus on that theme. Basically we want to use this month to reflect and find our more about the whole African struggle, the Caribbean situation and Kalinago history because the whole black struggle stems from way back. We want people to know that we come from a mighty race and we should be proud,” Dr. Dublin said.
Black History Month is being celebrated during the month of February.
The celebration started with an event on the February 1st, 2019 and is hoping to accomplish various activities through he course of this month.
“We had a successful activity on the 1st of February where we had presentations. The activity included poetry from well known poets and song performance. The attendance was very successful. The queen contestants were there, Minister of Ecclesiastic Affairs, the Rastafarian movement was well represented and quite a few people who, over the years, have been giving their support,” Dr. Dublin stated.
He said the programme will also include visits to different schools, among other activities.
“We plan to visit schools starting on Monday in different areas – primary and secondary – to just give information on black history and the importance of the role that the Kalinagos play. We also want to have a session at the college [Dominica State College],” he added.
According to Dublin, other plans include a symposium on natural hair which will focus on its history, treatment and the various hair treatment products. He said there will also be sessions on skin care, natural living, herbs, fruits and food preparation as well as cultural performances involving drums, poetry, short story and singing.
“But all these songs have to have some sort of content, black awareness and positivity,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile Dublin said Dominicans have made tremendous progress as a nation over the years in embracing cultural aspects of their black heritage.
“It started from way back when the Kalinagos helped the blacks come down with the cultural aspects like the bele, drumming, story telling, creole language. All these are legacies of African slavery we enjoy today,” he added. “I’ve noticed an increased awareness in terms of the African wear which is a good sign.”
He also mentioned the case of more women adopting natural hair styles, the important role that Rastafarians have played in increasing understanding, citing their African Liberation Day march and celebration and the increased participation in that event over the years as an indication that the information is getting out and people are responding.
He said more ideas are brought forth all events may not be implement within black history month but going forward the reparations committee will take on some of them.