Monday marks International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition
The UK government has been urged to implement a national day of remembrance for the abolition of slavery, in an effort to help “once and for all stamp out racism.”
Monday is recognised globally as the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition, an initiative introduced by UNESCO in 1998.
It recognises the millions who suffered as a result of the Transatlantic slave trade, highlighting the impact this has had on generations of Black people around the world.
The day itself is geared at helping to advocate for an end to modern day slavery in its various iterations and Unite, one of the largest trade unions in the UK, has echoed this motion, and called for a UK-specific day of remembrance.
“Unite calls on the government to support the organisation of an annual remembrance day and commit resources for education and raising awareness to mark this high profile event,” the union said in a written statement.
“We recoil at the leftovers of slavery still evidenced in our society today (…) The legacy of the Slave Trade continues to manifest itself in different forms, through colonialism, apartheid, racism, poverty, economic and social deprivation, unfair trade agreements and huge debts owed to developing countries to the rich developed nations. The ongoing disgraceful treatment of the Windrush generation is a prime example of this shameful legacy.”
Vroeër die jaar, the Government-appointed Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (CRED) published a report which concluded that Britain is no longer a country where the “system is deliberately rigged against ethnic minorities”.
The findings were widely condemned by prominent figures across British politics, media, academia and by organisations including the United Nations.
The commission’s chairman, Tony Sewell, was further accused of putting a “positive spin on slavery and empire” when explaining its recommendation on teaching history in schools when he wrote the following in the report’s foreword: “There is a new story about the Caribbean experience which speaks to the slave period not only being about profit and suffering but how culturally African people transformed themselves into a remodelled African/Britain.”
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will on Monday evening join with prominent community figures and academics to commemorate the International Day for Remembrance of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and its Abolition with an online ceremony.
It will include speeches from the Mayor, Deputy Mayor for Communities and Social Justice Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard, and Chair of the London Assembly Andrew Boff, with the keynote speech by Professor Hilary Beckles, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of West Indies.
“It is vitally important that we come together to remember and honour the millions of people who suffered and died as a result of the Transatlantic slave trade, and the impact this has had on generations of Black communities here in London and worldwide,” the Mayor said.
“This event provides an opportunity for Londoners to reflect on how the legacy of slavery has shaped the city that we live in today, from our institutions and our industries to our public spaces.
Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO’s director general, gesê: “Once and for all, it is time to abolish human exploitation and to recognise the equal and unconditional dignity of each and every individual on Earth.
“Today, let us remember the victims and freedom fighters of the past so that they may inspire future generations to build just societies.”
The UK government has been approached for comment.