the year of LIVING UNOFFICIALLY

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25
March

International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Posted by Brittany

Int'lDayofRemembranceoftheVictimsofSlaveryandtheTransatlanticSlaveTradeThe International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade is observed annually on March 25. The triangular trade, including its long and dangerous Middle Passage, lasted over four hundred years, and involved four continents. Its estimated that about 12 million Africans were uprooted and transplanted to the New World, with about 10-20% dying during the passage, and still more shortly after their arrival.

In a statement made earlier today by UN Secretary-General Ban Kim-Moon, he said that “by studying slavery, we help to guard against humanity’s most vile impulses. By examining the prevailing assumptions and beliefs that allowed the practice to flourish, we raise awareness about the continued dangers of racism and hatred.” In tandem with this cause, this day also draws attention to the fact that, even in today’s modern world, millions of people remain enslaved through practices like child labor, forced labor, and human trafficking. Two friends of ours are staunch supporters of The Gray Haven Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to seeing that “the dark tragedy of human trafficking is exposed to the light of hope, truth and justice.”

I remember watching Roots, the mini-series based on Alex Haley’s novel of the same name, when it was re-run in the 1980s. I was still just a little kid and hadn’t ever given much thought to slavery and the countless atrocities perpetuated by the slave trade. But seeing Kunta Kinte ripped from his native Africa, chained, re-named, and brutalized, made what had only felt like stories learned over elementary school history lessons, suddenly painfully real. I believe I watched the entire mini-series, and ended up asking my parents a lot of questions, but this was perhaps my first true realization that the United States wasn’t always the land of the free.

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