Activism through Tourism

An Official Day of Remembrance – Unwanted Exodus

March 25 2016 commemorates two tragic events in history: Good Friday and the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the TransAtlantic Slave Trade.

While the date for Good Friday varies every year, the date for Slavery Remembrance Day has happened the same day every year since its inception in 2007 by the UN General Assembly.

The TransAtlantic Slave Trade resulted in millions of Africans being forcibly removed from their home and sent abroad to work as slaves. Many did not survive the journey and the majority of those who did ended up in the Americas and Caribbean islands. This occurred over a 400 year period and the magnitude and inhumane treatment of this extensive endeavour is unrivalled in recorded history.

After watching the PBS series, The Abolitionists, it would seem that not much has changed since that time. The idea of slavery seems rooted in the psyche of many capitalistic ventures. While slavery was officially abolished in the 1800s, it still exists in a more pervasive form under the guise of  ‘cheap labour’ (e.g. chocolate, clothing and child labour.) Many companies now send their operations overseas where the labour is cheaper than in their home country. This is to produce goods at a cheap price (with maximum profit for the companies involved) but at a huge cost.

March 25th has been established as a day to remember the victims of slavery and every year there is a theme. This year’s theme:

Remember Slavery: Celebrating the Culture and the Heritage of the African Diaspora and its Roots.

Here are a few suggestions on applying this theme to your travels:

  • Experience blues music in its places of origin in the USA.
  • Do capoeira in Brazil. Capoeira is a martial arts/dance with its roots in Angola.
  • Learn about Santeria in Cuba. This religion has traditions and beliefs from West Africa.
  • Visit Toronto, Canada in July/August for the annual Caribana festival.
  • Article from USA Today: Tracing the Roots-African Heritage & History in the Caribbean





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