March 25th is the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. I was not aware of it until I came across this date while researching generational trauma induced by the transatlantic and domestic slave trade. I discovered that the Native Americans, Armenians and Jews have a day of remembrance for the victims of the Massacre at Wounded Knee (3rd Thursday in November Thanksgiving Day USA), Armenian Genocide (April 24 Red Sunday), and Jewish Holocaust (Tisha B’Av August 4, 2014) respectively. They established an intentional day of remembrance in order to facilitate their healing process by mourning the lives of their ancestors lost during these horrific events.

 Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade

     The United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution 62/122 of 17 December 2007, declared 25 March the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, to be observed annually. The date was selected because on 25 March 1807 the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act received its royal assent from the British Parliament abolishing the slave trade in the British colonies and making it illegal to carry enslaved people in British ships. The UN resolution also called for the establishment of an outreach program to mobilize educational institutions, civil society and other organizations to inculcate in future generations the “causes, consequences and lessons of the transatlantic slave trade, and to communicate the dangers of racism and prejudice.”

     In order to more permanently honor the victims, a memorial will be erected at UnitedRodney-LEON Nations Headquarters in New York. The winning design for the memorial, The Ark of Return by Rodney Leon, an American architect of Haitian descent, was selected through an international competition and announced September 23, 2013.

     2014 also marks the 20th anniversary of the UNESCO Slave Route Project, launched in Ouidah, Benin, in 1994, which decided to break the silence surrounding the slave trade and slavery. The project has produced multimedia educational materials, available for educators, pupils, and the general public.

The UN sponsors a week of activites in New York each year in remembrance of the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.  Maybe local commemorations can be scheduled next year to bring more awareness? Just a thought.

Grace and peace,