“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”
~ Martin Luther King
The transatlantic slave trade is one of humankind’s greatest atrocities and perhaps, in reference to scale, the most heinous crime man has committed on fellow man. It spanned over 400 years, involved over 15 million African men, women and children (National Archives) and was brought about by 7 European countries: Portugal, Spain, Britain, France, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden.
Those enslaved were taken all over the world including America, Brasil and the Caribbean resulting in major shifts in the developmental path and ethnic makeup of all countries involved.
Those taken from Africa were not slaves, they were doctors, priests, musicians, merchants, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters who were enslaved by their fellow man.
A race of people is like an individual man; until it uses its own talent, takes pride in its own history, expresses its own culture, affirms its own selfhood, it can never fulfill itself.
If your people are oppressed and you are not not making a contribution to end the sufferings of your people, by your very act of inaction, you are against your people. There is no middle ground.
To control a people you must first control what they think about themselves and how they regard their history and culture. And when your conqueror makes you ashamed of your culture and history he needs no prison walls and chains to hold you.
Dr. John Henrik Clarke
Commemorative Remembrance Sankofa Badge
Sankofa is a word from the Ghanaian Twi language meaning “Go back and get it” (san – to return; ko – to go; fa – to fetch, to seek and take)
The Sankofa is linked to the African proverb “Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi,” which translates as: “It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.”
Sankofa is usually depicted by one of two symbols: a bird with its head turned backwards taking an egg off its back, or as a stylised heart shape.
Our Remembrance Sankofa encompasses both symbols as well as other symbols including the Garvery Black Star and twelve circles running down the neck of the bird symbolising the 12+ million people enslaved during this period. At the bottom of the remembrance Sankofa is the proverb “Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi.“
Money raised from the sale of the Sankofa shall be used for projects aimed at the Afro-Caribbean diaspora.