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Marking Emancipation Day

PICTURED: The Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March

TODAY MARKS Reparations Day and the annual Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March, which aims to continue efforts to enrich public discourse about the cause of reparatory justice and increase awareness and visibility of the existence of the ground-up International Social Movement for Afrikan Reparations (ISMAR).

The Afrikan Emancipation Day Reparations March, now in its 5th year, has consistently attracted thousands of people from across the UK, as well as overseas, to take part.

This attraction is all the more significant since the March has become one of the flagship Afrikan Heritage Community activities promoting the United Nations declared 2015-2024 International Decade for People of African Descent.

The 1st of August was chosen as the date of the March to reclaim so-called ‘Emancipation Day’, as a reparations focused day. Emancipation Day is observed in many former European colonies in the Caribbean and commemorates the passing of the Abolition of Slavery Act in the British Empire, on 1st August 1833.

However, the passing of this act did very little to truly emancipate enslaved Afrikans. Instead, the act compensated their British enslavers; resulting in the unjust impoverishment, dispossession and social displacement of Afrikans and their descendants, who are still negatively impacted today by these injustices and other manifestations of the Maangamizi; a Kiswahili term for ‘Afrikan Hellacaust’, popularized in the song ‘Maangamizi’ by Akala.

Jendayi Serwah, Co-chairperson of the AEDRMC said: “The Reparations March will help to raise awareness of the current manifestations of the Afrikan Hellacaust and the resistance that people of Afrikan heritage are engaged in to stop the harm and repair the damage for ourselves because we are not begging the British state to repair us by deciding on its own what to do for us!”

This year’s March will open and finish with a rally at Windrush Square in Brixton featuring community organisers, campaigners and activists engaged in reparatory justice related activism. The marchers will then proceed to Parliament Square where three minutes silence will be observed in commemoration of those Ancestors, freedom fighters and Maangamizi martyrs who took action to stop the manifestations of the Maangamizi prevalent in their lifetime, or who otherwise organised and campaigned for freedom, equity and justice for people of Afrikan heritage.

There will also be a ‘Peoples Open Parliamentary Session on Afrikan Reparations’ at Parliament Square where March participants debate and engage in the ‘battle of ideas’ on the effectiveness of marching and the Reparations March, in particular, as a tactic in the process of effecting and securing holistic reparatory justice. There will also be the annual handing-in of the ‘Stop the Maangamizi!’ Petition to 10 Downing Street.

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