We need to put this on the table for your consideration:
As we travel this nation’s Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, it is astounding to experience the initial hesitation and resistance within the Black community to honoring and remembering African ancestors. The response is across the board from all strata – social, cultural, economic, religious, educational. Conditioning over a 500-year period marked by enslavement and European dominance has made many of us unaccepting of our history or unaware of our ability to make choices to correct the problems that face us.
These ceremonies are not about Africans; they are about people with whom we have direct family connections. We did not spring out of nothingness into the Americas. The one thing that people of African descent share in the Diaspora is the ancestral experience of the Middle Passage and enslavement. That is it; everything else is local. They were a diverse people, as are we, but we all share this common thread. Will this history be something that we consider of no value, or will we treasure our ancestors’ abilities to persevere and establish viable communities? By participating in and supporting remembrance ceremonies and historic marker installations, we are making a deliberate and conscious choice to “make it right,” to affirm our humanity. With that choice, we are acknowledging that the past provides us with a learning opportunity and opens the door to healing. What did people, our ancestors, do in the past to build a community, to educate children, to protect themselves from violence, to care for elders, to foster a sense of identity, and how do we, as their descendants, follow their example?
An ancestral remembrance ceremony is not about slavery, oppression, or loss – it is about a choice to determine if our ancestors are worthless, and can remain ignored and forgotten, or valued, to be honored and remembered. That decision will establish whether we acknowledge our human history and move forward, sharing responsibility for our lives and for each other, or not. It is as simple as that.
Each of us has to decide. If we can accept that this history is priceless, from that we will place value on ourselves and our future. We hope that you will participate in this initiative. Please visit the website’s Calendar of Events.