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HomeNewsArchivesSankofa USVI 2007 Delegation to Represent V.I. at Ghana’s Independence Anniversary

Sankofa USVI 2007 Delegation to Represent V.I. at Ghana’s Independence Anniversary

July 15, 2007 — While Sankofa USVI 2007 did not raise much money at a fundraiser held over the weekend, members of the group still had fun entertaining residents with some traditional African drumming, dancing and singing at Emancipation Garden on St. Thomas.
Money garnered from the fundraiser will go toward subsidizing the group's trip to Ghana. According to Sankofa chairwoman Jacquel Dawson, about $2,000 has been raised so far, a combination of money collected at two events held over the past month. Although only 10 group members will be making the trek, ticket fare plus accommodations add up to about $5,000 per person.
This year's trip is not primarily for pleasure, Dawson explained over the weekend. The delegation intends on representing the territory at Ghana's Emancipation Day celebrations, which kick off early next week. Former Senate President Bingley Richardson and his family have already flown over, Dawson said, and will be there once events begin on July 19.
Celebrations are intended to mark the 50th anniversary of Ghana's independence and the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the British slave trade. "This is particularly important for us here in the territory because historical documents show that a majority of the enslaved Africans, who were brought to the former Danish West Indies during the slave trade, boarded ships that left from the coasts of Ghana," Dawson said.
The territory's ambassadors will also be holding a V.I. Night honoring the 175th birthday of Edward Wilmot Blyden, a native Virgin Islander thought to be the founder of Pan-Africanism.
"The ceremony will be held Aug. 2 at the W.E.B DuBois Center in Accra, Ghana," Dawson said. "It will coincide with other celebrations going on all throughout the Caribbean, Europe and other parts of Africa. And, in addition to celebrating Blyden's birthday, representatives from Ghana's Ministry of Tourism will be showcasing the Virgin Islands as the premiere tourist destination in the Caribbean."
Dawson added that the ceremony would feature local food and crafts, along with music provided by the Quelbe in Motion group from St. John. "We also have promotional CDs for the attendees, and of course, bush tea for people to drink," she said.
Dawson, who frequently holds her famous bush tea socials on St. Thomas, says that the group will also be documenting their journey on videotape so that other residents can see the celebrations when the delegation returns.
"It's going to be a wonderful trip," she said. "Sankofa means to return to one's roots, and that's exactly what we're doing."
For more information about the organization or the trip, or to give a donation, call Sankofa USVI 2007 at 777-5310.
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