Why Emancipation Observances Matter
By N Oji Mzilikazi
(Originally published in Montreal Community Contact Volume 21, Number 18)
September 1, 2011
…Emancipation matters because it marked a decisive legislative, political and social shift in the lives of Blacks. It was the taking up one’s bed to walk…
…Annually, Canada commemorates Remembrance Day. Remembrance Day is more than paying tribute to the soldiers who fell to preserve our freedoms. It psychologically reminds the society that the sacrifice of one’s life for country is the ultimate demand of citizenship. That perhaps one day each would be called upon to fulfill that unspoken oath.
There is no day of remembrance or memorial for the untold millions of Africans who through enslavement or not, contributed towards the building of our nation/other nations. There is no day of remembrance or memorial for the untold millions of Africans who died on route to the New World.
Emancipation observances are our Days of Remembrance. It is letting our ancestors know they are not forgotten. It is acknowledgement of our debt to them, honouring their denied humanity. It is symbolic of racial commitment, empowering and moving the race forward.
My hope is we can move Emancipation forward to the point where people of African descent would gladly take time off from work for its commemoration.