The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan yesterday (Wednesday 23 August) held an event to commemorate the UNESCO International Day for the Remembrance of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and its Abolition.
The sixth annual event hosted by City Hall provided an opportunity for people to remember the victims of the Transatlantic slave trade, reflect on its legacy, and honour those who fought for its abolition.
Arthur Torrington CBE, Director, The Equiano Society / Windrush Foundation, said: “August 23 each year is a day for remembering, with UNESCO, the people of Haiti and other nations in the Caribbean that fought to end the trafficking of Africans there. It was the beginning of a long and arduous journey towards the realisation of the right to self-determination.”
The theme for this year’s event was ‘Fighting Slavery’s Legacy of Racism Through Transformative Education’ and included a keynote address by H.E. Judge Patrick Robinson of the International Court of Justice.
Performances included music from Prudence Jezile, Asanda Jezile and Kadialy Kouyate and dance from IMPACT DANCE, an art for social change organisation that specialises in Hip-Hop Theatre, Street Dance and Youth Development.
The ceremony was hosted by Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard, the Deputy Mayor for Communities and Social Justice, with contributions from UNESCO’s Ângela Melo, poetry by George the Poet, and a speech by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.
The event was planned in conjunction with a community advisory group, which includes representatives from the Windrush Foundation, Slavery Remembrance and Birthmark of Africa.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “City Hall is once again bringing Londoners together for the UNESCO Day for Remembering the Transatlantic Slave Trade and its Abolition. This important event is a moment to reflect on the injustices of the slave trade, while learning about – and celebrating – all those who resisted and helped bring about justice and change.
“It’s vital that we continue to provide an opportunity for people to remember the millions of victims who suffered as a result of the Transatlantic slave trade. This shameful chapter of human history continues to have repercussions across our society, with structural and institutional barriers still limiting the life chances of far too many Black Londoners.
“Through education and teaching about the past, we can help empower people to stand up for their rights and call out racism whenever and wherever it arises.”
Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard, Deputy Mayor for Communities and Social Justice, said: “It’s a huge honour for me to be hosting such an important and powerful event, honouring the millions of people who were victims of the transatlantic slave trade and remembering the impact this has had on generations of Black communities here in London and across the world.
“It’s up to us, to continue to educate people on the suffering caused by the horrors of slavery and empower them to stand-up for their rights and work together to build a fairer, more equal society.”