As part of the Season of Emancipation, Government, through the Prime Minister’s Office (Culture), had consulted with a number of religious and faith-based organisations, specifically with respect to Emancipation Day.
It was agreed that this Emancipation Weekend would be one of reflection and commemoration of the struggles and achievements of our forefathers, in recognition of their paving the way for the freedoms which we as a nation now enjoy.
This Emancipation Weekend, religious and faith-based organisations will be ringing church bells; basing their sermons and addresses around the theme of freedom, and carrying out a number of activities which are in keeping with their traditions.
Vicar General of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgetown, Father Clement Paul, in support of the call to reflection and commemoration, stated: “Roman Catholic churches will heed the call and incorporate Emancipation in our Masses. Our foreparents deserve that and more. They struggled and died knowing that we, not they, would enjoy emancipation. Let us thank God for heeding their cries, and thank our ancestors for what they did for us. Let us show our gratitude by living the slogan ‘All life matters’.”
The Barbados Muslim Society, which also joins in supporting the weekend of reflection and commemoration of our foreparents, said: “Emancipation Day presents the opportunity for both celebration and contemplation. We rejoice in the liberation of enslaved Africans, an estimated one-third of whom were Muslim, from the cruel chains of bondage, while also acknowledging their painful experiences and reflecting on their long, bitter road to freedom. Emancipation was not easily attained; it was a harrowing and hard-fought struggle.
“Today, many communities still struggle with the harsh legacy of the slave system. A system that impacts upon our nation in a very real way. Faith communities must continue to play their part in mitigating the trauma and consequences associated to that oppressive time and system.”
All residents are therefore urged to join in this reflection and commemoration of Emancipation Day.