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Aug 3, 2021

Recognising Emancipation Day

Emancipation Day was recognised for the first time this year as a public and bank holiday in Belize. The Ministry of Culture, through the National Institute of Culture and History, has organized a series of activities, including virtual educational events, exhibits, spoken word and drumming sessions surrounding the history of slavery and its abolition. While the observance was a major step, and it did take place under COVID restrictions, ISCR Director Nigel Encalada reflects on what else can be done. 


Nigel Encalada

Nigel Encalada, Director, Institute for Social and Cultural Research

“There needs to be greater community involvement. One of the things I would like to see are more grassroots organizations, Afro-descendant organizations – the National Kriol Council – certainly the UEF has shown us what could be achieved, but certainly Afro-descendant communities. The Gales Point, the Flowers Bank, the River Valley communities where you would say would be the cradle of Creole/afro-descendant civilization in Belize, if you want to use that term. Recognising what is happening today in Belize that Emancipation is not just an opportunity to acknowledge the historical injustice and to commemorate freedom, but rather it is an ongoing process to ensure that marginalized people are no longer marginalised, to mitigate the negative impact that has been passed down from generation to generation. The state must continue to play its role in doing the formal events, the exhibits, the panel discussions and so on. But the true value will be found in the work of the community and its leaders.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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