An annual event geared at commemorating the abolition of slavery in Dominica has officially been launched and Dominicans far and near are being encouraged to participate fully in the activities. The 2014 Emancipation Celebrations will involve a variety of educational, cultural, community and outdoor events which will include the Golden Drum Awards and the Grand Emancipation Day Hike.
Speaking at the official launch on Tuesday morning, Acting Chief Cultural Officer Jacinta David explained that the celebration is one of freedom.
“It is a celebration of the struggle of our ancestors, the maroons and others to abolish slavery. It is an occasion to pay tribute to those who gave up their lives in that struggle and to those who died during the Atlantic crossing and as a result of inhumane conditions and brutality of slavery.”
According to her, this year’s celebration will be special since it marks the 200th anniversary of the death of Jacko, Dominica’s paramount maroon chief and also marks the 180th anniversary of the Abolition of Slavery in Dominica.
“Emancipation day activities include a historic walk starting from the Barracoon building, proceeding along the Dame Eugenia Charles Boulevard to the Cruise Ship berth where flowers will be scattered in the sea to commemorate those who died during the Atlantic Middle Passage. A short address and libation will follow at the Roseau Market and then a special ceremony and concert will be held at the Peebles Park.”
Minister for Culture, Youth and Sports Justina Charles added that special focus is being placed on the Baracoon building and the Old Market during this year’s celebration.
“Last year we unveiled the Emancipation Negre Maroon monument in Roseau. This monument is a paramount symbol which serves to remind us or to stimulate thinking or curiosity about emancipation from slavery and the role of the maroons. This year we give some focus to the Barracoon buildings and the Old Market, two important sites associated with slavery.”
She added that a people with no knowledge of their past is like a tree without roots hence, it is important to recall our history and pass this on to the young generations.
Charles encouraged everyone to participate in the various activities.
Other activities to commemorate the Emancipation Celebrations include an Emancipation Lecture on July 31st, Honoring our Heroes event in Grandbay on August 2nd, and the Nature Island Literary Festival and Book Fair from August 8th to 10th, 2014.
Emancipation Day is slated for August 1st, 2014.