Young boys played the drums Saturday as marchers bearing signs and flags made their way from Addelita Cancryn Junior High School to Brewer’s Bay, a walk to close out St. Thomas’ African Liberation Day festivities.
“It symbolizes what our ancestors had to do — march from the motherland to the slave ship,” said Pan-African Support Group member Steve Isaac.
The Pan-African Support Group held three events this week to mark the celebration of all things African. Although the official day to celebrate is May 25, people on St. Croix and St. John also had events earlier this month.
African Liberation Day was founded in 1958 when African leader Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana convened the First Conference of Independent States; the even is meant to symbolize the determination of the people of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation.
Most of the morning’s attendees were children. Isaac said that is because black children are at such high risk – and because they are so important to the future of black culture.
“We’re trying to bridge that gap,” he said. “We’re losing our young men to violence and crime and drugs. They are the ones who are going to be the future culture-bearers.”
Adult attendee Silfred Joseph said he thought it was important for him to be at the walk as well.
“We get to know more about who we are as a people and then we have more of a sense of dignity about who we are,” he said. “By putting our differences aside and uniting for one cause – that is unity.”
Saturday’s event ended with music, food and entertainment.