Berbice Slave Rebellion Conference July 29, 2013
For immediate Release
The Ghana Day Committee in collaboration with The Cuffy 250 Committee Hosts Forum on State of Black African Guyana on 250th Anniversary of Berbice Slave Rebellion
“The State of Black African Guyana: Time for Renewal and Empowerment” will be the theme for a Forum to be hosted by The Ghana Day Committee in collaboration with The Cuffy 250 Committee on August 4th 2013 at ACDA headquarters. The all-day forum, which is the first in a series of conversations in the African Guyanese community to mark the 250th anniversary of the Berbice Slave Rebellion, feature presentations on the current socio-economic, political and cultural condition of African Guyanese by leading intellectuals, members of civil society, and well known Africanists. These presentations will be followed by in-depth discussions by participants aimed at generating needed inputs for the evolution of a plan of action for the African Guyanese community to collectively begin to address some of the challenges it faces and to equip itself with the necessary tools for its own survival and development in contemporary Guyana. We feel that such a plan is pivotal to African Guyanese ability to participate fully and equally in Guyana’s growth and development.
Two hundred and fifty years after the epic 1763 rebellion and 175 years since the abolition of the European Slave project, African Guyanese and their counterparts in the African diaspora continue to confront the legacy of slavery in every sphere of human endeavor. The attainment of independence from colonial rule created an opening for African empowerment and ultimate freedom from want and servitude which are critical to the attainment of ethno-racial equality in plural societies such as Guyana. But almost 50 years after independence the African Guyanese community is in crisis. The post-emancipation advances and the progress of the early post-independence period have been overtaken by under-achievement in all spheres of national life, a collective sense of alienation and disillusionment and a cultural drift away from the rich heritage of the group. These developments have resulted in insecurities and fears of subjugation.
The Ghana Day Committee is deeply concerned about the plight of African Guyanese and fells that it’s high time this condition be confronted in a systematic and comprehensive matter. We feel that for a muti-ethnic society to advance all of its ethnic groups should enjoy a sense of security, equality and ownership of the collective space. While government and other national institutions have a primary role to play in this regard, we believe that each ethnic group has an equal responsibility to tackle its own problems and search for solutions to them. Hence this initial initiative to launch this fact-finding conversation aimed at establishing the true extent of the economic, political and cultural decline in the community. We feel that there is no better symbol around which to have this discourse than the Berbice Slave Rebellion. The spirit of resistance and freedom embodied in that rebellion is the perfect reminder to African Guyanese that overcoming obstacles and downturns is part and parcel of the local and global African praxis.
Plans for this forum and others to be held later in the year have been jointly undertaken by two committees of the Sponsoring Organizations–a local committee based here in Guyana and an International Committee based in the USA—which have been working together for the past year. The forum will feature four broad plenary sessions covering the economic, political, social and cultural/historical condition of African Guyanese. The list of presenters includes noted African Guyanese scholars and activists such as Hugh Tommy Payne, Nigel Hughes, Andaiye, Melissa Ifill, Carl Greenidge and David Hinds. International presenters include acclaimed African American scholar-activist Anthony Browder, and Guyanese-American business-men George Abrams and Floyd Haynes. With lengthy periods set aside for discussion, organizers are encouraging all African Guyanese to come out and have their voices heard – looking together at where we are and where we want to go.
The Forum would be held at ACDA headquarters, Thomas Lands, Georgetown and starts at 8 am.
For further information please contact:
Telephone: 226-9986, Mobile: 682-7479