ST. THOMAS—Under the theme of “Forward Ever to World-Wide Pan-African Unity,” Members of the 34th Legislature celebrated African Liberation Day on the Capitol Building grounds. Enacted through Act No. 5473, Virgin Islands African Heritage Week and African Liberation Day are commemorated annually during the third week of May and on May 25th, respectively.
Virgin Islands African Heritage Week annually commemorates, observes, memorializes, and celebrates that African Liberation Day is rooted in the First Conference of Independent African States convened by eight African nations in 1958 during African Freedom Day (April 15th) and led by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of the independent Republic of Ghana – an African nation with which many Virgin Islands Caribbean people have ancestral family lineage, the proclamation states.
Cultural Tradition Artist Jason Meade gave the Call to Order, signaled by the Conch Shell Horn. Empress of Ceremonies SNTDR. Chenzira Davis Kahina led the Program, followed by raising the Flag, singing of the National African Anthem by Nkosi Sikelel ‘Iafrika, and recitation of VI Code Title 1, Chapter 11, Section 192, and Proclamation by UVI Student, Majestik Freedom Estrada-Petersen.
Senator Milton E. Potter spoke on behalf of Senate President Frett-Gregory and referenced “Africa Unite” by Bob Marley and the Wailers, reiterating the song’s appeal for unity among Africans on the continent as well as the Africans throughout the diaspora. “This theme is about holding on to our identity as African people,” stated by Senator Carla J. Joseph.
After Libation offered by Felicia Blake of the Yoruba Community, the event included an Ancestral Tribute by Queens of the Earth, a Heritage presentation from Clarence Lumumba Leonard of the Pan African Support Group, and the Keynote Presentation by Nswnebkara Asar R. Herishetapaheru, Per Ankh M Smai Tawi.
“Today we reflect on the fact that we have not obtained our freedom and thus, this isn’t easy because our freedom has not been fully realized. But we use this day to reaffirm our commitment to pan Africanism celebrating the victories against capitalism via colonialism, racism and zionism” said Senator Genevieve Whitaker.