Today marks the anniversary of the day that slavery was abolished and slaves emancipated. Emancipation Day is celebrated by many Caribbean countries, and Belize is celebrating too. The National Institute of Culture and History held an all-day event that allowed the public to enter for free and view their “Enslaved” exhibit at The Museum of Belize. After his presentation at the exhibit, Orson OJ Elrington, told us about the importance of Emancipation Day.
Orson “OJ” Elrington – Attorney: “The general public, many people don’t appreciate nor understand nor may not even know today is Emancipation Day and so it is our responsibility to ensure that we educate our brothers, our sisters, our children as to the importance of this day. It is my understanding that today a release is supposed to be issued by the Government of Belize which recognizes today and observes today as Emancipation Day which is a huge step in the right direction. As Muta Baruka said holiday with it sometimes brings the wrong thing because people don’t acknowledge it, they don’t show reverence to the actual purpose of the holiday so again that is always up for discussion as to what is the best way for us to ensure that we acknowledge the importance of this day which is Emancipation Day.”
NICH has been hosting many programs over the course of this summer and President of NICH, Sapna Budhrani, told us about some of the other programs.
Sapna Budhrani – President of NICH: “ NICH has been the one who has been pushing this forward. We have assisted UBAD for four years I believe or more than five years supporting their initiative. This is the first year NICH has done one on its own. It is a representation of our Summer Arts Program at the museum, the Drumming Program at the museum and the poets from 501 where we want to continue involving our youth and our community in activities that we have so NICH has been fully involved. We have events happening in the Orange Walk House of Culture also known as Banquitas, Corozal House of Culture, the Dangriga House of Culture. In Orange Walk the students are learning how to sing the National Anthem in Maya and Garifuna. In Dangriga they are learning drumming and in Corozal they are learning how to speak and write in Maya.”
The day also saw performances by Belizean groups such as Spokenword 501 Poetry and guest speakers such as Mutabaruka, Orson “OJ” Elrington and others.//////////