Labour Group equalities spokesperson Councillor Amanda Evans on UN International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade:
The International Day of Remembrance, marked every year on March 25th, serves as an annual commemoration of what is surely one of the very darkest chapters in human history, when over a period of 400 years more than 15 million men, women and children were the victims of the transatlantic slave trade.
As well as representing an opportunity to honour those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system, the International Day also aims to raise awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice today, with the theme for 2021 being Ending Slavery’s Legacy of Racism: A Global Imperative for Justice.
In America, slavery is a subject never far from the surface of national debate, since its legacy is clear to see to the present day. But here in the UK our slave owning-and-trading history, much of which took place thousands of miles away in the Caribbean, was much more successfully forgotten. The simple truth is that at the time of abolition in the 1830s, there were 46,000 British slave-owners, including many ancestors of still-prominent families, often described blandly with phrases such as ‘West India merchant’.
The Black Lives Matter movement that took off with such energy last year did much to shine a light on this cruel and shameful aspect of ‘Empire’ and here in Brighton & Hove helped inspire us to redouble our efforts to become an anti-racist council and city.
For the full calendar of events, visit the UN website.
Councillor Amanda Evans