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Government House Recognizes African Heritage Week and African Liberation Day

CHRISTIANSTED — Governor Albert Bryan, Jr. signed a proclamation recently recognizing African Heritage Week and African Liberation Day, which takes place on May 25th annually.

About 200 million people in the Americas identify as being of African descent and millions more live in other parts of the world outside of the African continent.

This year, the observance of Virgin Islands African Heritage Week and African Liberation Day arrives in harmony with the fifth year of the International Decade for People of African Descent (IDPAD). IDPAD —also known as the International Decade— was ratified by the General Assembly of the United Nations and officially began in the year 2015 and ends in December of 2024.

“So much of what we know and often take for granted today was made possible by our African ancestors,” said Governor Bryan. “This week presents an opportunity to raise awareness and enlighten others, and we welcome all to join our community in observing, memorializing and celebrating the contributions of our African ancestors to the cultural and social fabric of our community.”

The theme of the International Decade is “People of African descent: recognition, justice, and development.” All around the world, the African diaspora is making innovative breakthroughs in industries like agricultural productivity and championing research in sustainability initiatives.

Earlier this month, the territory’s lieutenant governor attended a seminar which touched on the status of the U.S. Virgin Islands, other U.S. territories in the Caribbean and Pacific, and other territories which are still considered by the United Nations to be non self-governing.

On May 2nd, Lt. Governor Tregenza Roach attended the United Nations Caribbean Regional Seminar: “Implementation of the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism: Accelerating Decolonization through Renewed Commitment and Pragmatic Measures” in Grenada.

“The issue of status continues to be a critical issue for Virgin Islanders, and so I could not miss the opportunity to take our concerns and issues to the world stage, using the essential forum that the United Nations offers,” Lieutenant Governor Roach said. “As we also celebrate African Heritage Week and African Liberation Day, we ought to recognize the greatness of our African past, the struggles of our ancestors, and our still resilient connections to the native continent. Mindful of this we should pledge to continue to work against any of the remaining vestiges of colonization.”

As the territory assumes a more progressive role in American politics, Governor Bryan said he is calling on residents to carefully observe African Heritage Week and African Liberation Day as the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and other U.S. territories contemplate the status of at least four million American citizens in those jurisdictions.

Learn more about the International Decade for People of African Descent here.

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