National Youth Council of Dominica launches campaign to celebrate Black History Month

The National Youth Council of Dominica (NYCD) has launched its new “I am BAE” (Black and Excellent) campaign as part of activities for Black History month celebrations this month.

The NYCD said in a press release that it deems the last week in February as a time to Talk, Appreciate, Love and Know (T.A.L.K) about the history of our country, Dominica.

The council will be hosting a series of sessions in various high schools across the island dubbed BAE T.A.L.K!

The official launch of the #IAmBAE campaign took place on all social media platforms to support the council’s BAE T.A.L.K activity which, according to the NYCD, seeks to promote the idea in the minds of the youth that they are Black and Excellent and should always view this in a positive light.

According to President of the NYCD, Ashma McDougall, the council has recognized the youth’s disinterest in appreciating the country’s own history and culture and wishes to embark on an activity that will transfer that knowledge in ways children learn today.

“We are visiting five (5) secondary schools through the month of February and will host a Class Takeover through an educational forum, Black and Excellent; “BAE” T.A.L.K, that focuses on celebrating and exploring four pillars of our local history: Arts, Culture , Notable Black Dominicans in history and Racism and Discrimination,” McDougall stated.

McDougall has also mentioned that typically, “we have viewed black history to mainly highlight our African heritage and, while we are proud of these roots we should even be prouder of our local roots.”

She said this initiative is primarily tailored, developed and framed, to talk, appreciate, love and know about Dominica’s local black history.

“And when we talk about local black history, we want to go back as far as understanding how the Armour’s and the Martins and the Shillingfords arrived in Dominica after World War II, and how the notable icons contributed to our own history  like Patrick John, Dame Eugenia Charles, O.J. Seraphine, Roosevelt Douglas and more,” MacDougall noted.

She continued, “We want to understand some of the names behind the streets in Roseau and, as well, to have a deeper understanding of our culture.”

The President also pointed to a dearth of documentation as it relates to the preservation of Dominica’s black history.

“We want to engage youth in this discourse so that these stories can continue long after our grandparents and historians like Dr. Honychurch have gone,” she said.  “Our history grounds each and every one of us in our roots, ethnic, national, and cultural identity are all very real things, and studying and documenting our history can give us a deeper, more meaningful glimpse into our ancestral pasts, and how we got to where we are today.”

Meantime, First Vice President of the council, Phael Lander, has also conveyed his excitement and eagerness to “get started” on the initiative as he thinks it’s a timely and much needed conversation to have with Dominican youth. He said the planned interaction with young people in schools not only aims to teach them about our black history, but also to find out how much they know and what they want to know.

“This is why at the end of each engaging session, we will play a game of jeopardy to see how well our young people respond to information on the aspects of our history that they can actually relate with- not the colonial stuff that’s just taught in schools, and also just because it’s fun,” Lander stated.

The National Youth Council of Dominica plans on taking over classes at selected schools on Thursday 25th and Friday 26th February 2021, to undertake this initiative that the organization hopes “will create the spark needed to lead the way to a greater appreciation for Dominica’s culture among the youth today.”

This year, Black History Month, which is traditionally recognized in the month of February in the U.S and generally accepted elsewhere, is being celebrated under the theme, “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity”.

This is in the hope of raising the awareness worldwide or the importance of the institution which is the black family and the impact it has on the development and togetherness of the black community. This moment is also used as a time to educate, uplift and enlighten the world on the beauty that is black history, black culture and black heritage.

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  1. Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
    February 26, 2021

    “And when we talk about local black history, we want to go back as far as understanding how the Armour’s and the Martins and the Shillingfords arrived in Dominica after World War II, and how the notable icons contributed to our own history  like Patrick John, Dame Eugenia Charles, O.J. Seraphine, Roosevelt Douglas and more,” MacDougall noted.

    All in the above is hogwash; that does not have anything to do with Black history month!
    We know how the Armour’s came to Dominica out of Trinidad & Tobago; the old father came to Dominica as a medical doctor; he was posted in the Village of Marigot, where he married a relative of mine, from that marriage came all the children.
    The Shillingford’s were merchant brothers who came out of England, setup grocery shops within which they sold clothe materials. If the name is MC Donald, that name is out of Anguilla, he was also an medical Doctor who served in Dominica for a brief period.

    Black history is not about that!

    • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
      February 26, 2021

      Admin: If you print the first part of my submission, I would appreciate you print the following too!
      If we are into Dominica black history, we cannot simply concentrate on modern politics, and politicians; that’s nonsense.

      In that case I can suggest someone doing a profile on the name “Telemaque” they might find that it dates back to Vatican in Rome for over five hundred years; and my name is all over Senegal, in Africa even this day, and on the Ivory Coast.

      Now if they want Black history with some significance do a profile on “Vessy Denmark Telemaque” insurrection in the 1800’s then they could get an in-site of what the struggles of black in history is all about.

      By the way they teach about Vessy Denmark Insurrection in history classes in universities in the United States.

      Black history is not about Roosevelt Skerrit, Douglas, Charles and the other fellow, these people has not contributed anything in the history of the world.

      They are nobody!

  2. Invest in Youth
    February 24, 2021

    Sounds like good ideas to impart knowledge of our history on to the young ones, especially African history our home, our anchor. In addition it would be very helpful to feature one or two Black historians and one of their books or video documentaries. For instance, one year feature Caribbeans Eric Williams and Walter Rodney, another year also Caribbean’s Yusef Dr. Ben Jochannan (Puerto Rico/VI), he was not only a historian but an archaeologist who also moved to Africa/Egypt to dig, boots on the ground, to record African history from temples, pyramids and new finds, truths from a Black man’s perspective. John H Clarke, another archaeologist/ master historian, Anthony Browder, there are so many Black history educators you may want to feature more than two but I think it would be very effective when done annually. Good luck my youts.

  3. click here
    February 23, 2021

    The month almost finish. And now all you want to make announcement? NONSENSE. Try again next year. Miss me with that crap.

  4. History buff
    February 22, 2021

    We should support this group on their initiative but I hope that they themselves are in fact imparting accurate history to the schools. I was concerned to see the line: “And when we talk about local black history, we want to go back as far as understanding how the Armour’s and the Martins and the Shillingfords arrived in Dominica after World War II”.

    All these families arrived in Dominica BEFORE World War II and the two original white, English, Shillingford brothers, arrived well over one hundred years even further back before then. It would be interesting to sit in on more of their version. All the best to them.

  5. I'm a King
    February 21, 2021

    Black History month?????
    Its sad to read the B.S. If you’re proud to be African (black). You would never celebrate or recognize black history month. We are kings are Queens and was given the shortest month of the year to us. FOH

    Born black
    Live Black
    Buy black and most importantly know your History.
    Africa Unite

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