ERC urges appreciation for each other in Emancipation message


See full statement below. 

The Ethnic Relations Commission, (ERC), extends Emancipation greetings to all Guyanese on the 182nd anniversary marking the end of slavery. The ERC notes that with each commemoration of Emancipation, the Afro-Guyanese community must add a new memory and understanding of their own experience in the social world we share with our fellow humans.

Learning experiences are and will not always be pleasant, but the ancestral ‘will’ to transcend have always enabled us to endure and to meet the challenges cast before us without losing the virtues of our nature.  We must not shrink from any confrontation, nor be embittered into losing faith in ourselves when challenged to endure. Our ancestors found resolve and courage in the pits of misery, that slavery from inception, through its rebellions to the abolition of chattel slavery to the struggle to find self  as we were remade as colonials, arguably the most extreme extension of slavery.

But individually we were and are severed from Africa, but collectively Africa resides in our soul and guides us.  We are the primary foundations upon which Guyana was built, taking nothing away from the contributions of others, yet it must not be diluted that slavery gave the planters access to the talents, rain forest clearing and drainage ideas as well as hygiene applications from the subjugated. After emancipation it was recognised that both planters and Africans ate basically localised African foods.

Those slave ancestors not only carried out plantation duties but also shaped their plantation lives as best to that of their historical memory. In commemorating Emancipation 2020, we must invite our neighbours to learn and appreciate as we appreciate their contributions, of our earned entitlement to living space, freedoms and integrity in this our homeland, to whom we have paid our toll from its foundation. Nevertheless, the Guyanese nation continues to thrive on a unique diversity arising from past occurrences of struggle and sacrifice. Happy Emancipation anniversary to all!

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