Emancipation Day Watch Night promises to be insightful

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By Latrishka Thomas

Each year, a spectacular watch night gathering is held in observance of Emancipation Day on August 1st and this year’s keynote speaker for the service, Dr Ron Daniels, is charging Antiguans and Barbudans to attend as he intends to share much of his appreciation for the country’s road to freedom.

He told listeners of yesterday’s Voice of the Peopleprogramme that the small twin island has been extremely important to the Emancipation wave and also inspirational to him as a human rights activist.

“I am very inspired by Antigua because I go back to the days of the Grenada Revolution and certainly one of the great leaders who was not only local but international, Tim Hector…. So, this island, this place has been incredibly important. So, a part of it is the inspiration; is understanding that as African people we’ve all been in different spaces but the resistance has always been there, but Antigua has the distinction of having been the very first nation to win emancipation,” Daniels said.

As such, the convener of National African American Reparations Commission (NAARC) is adamant that people should come out to the emancipation watch night service at the Botanical Gardens tonight.

In addition, Daniels, who is also a recently retired distinguished lecturer in behavioural sciences at York College in Queens, New York, said the Caribbean has been leading in the development of reparations programmes.

“I come here to let people know that we are winning. And we are winning in this period in large measure because the Caribbean has come to the forefront. So, when you say National African American Reparations Commission, guess why we have one? Because there is a Caribbean Reparations Commission. When you have a Caribbean 10-point programme, guess what we have? We have an African Americans reparation programme,” he continued.

Watch Night is held annually from July 31st into August 1st, being that August 1st 1834 is Emancipation Day – the day the enslaved people of African descent in Antigua and Barbuda and elsewhere got their figurative freedom paper.

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