Thu | Jun 20, 2024

IDPAD pivotal occasion to recognise Ja’s contribution to the world

Published:Saturday | September 3, 2022 | 12:06 AM

The United Nations (UN)-declared International Day for People of African Descent (IDPAD) has been described as a pivotal occasion that presents an opportunity for Jamaicans to recognise the nation’s contribution to the world.

The day, observed annually on August 31, celebrates the diverse heritage and culture of people of African descent and their enormous contribution to societies throughout history.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange says the people of Jamaica “personally identify with the very essence of this [IDPAD], because of the significant influence the work of our first national hero – the Right Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey – had on the declaration of this day”.

“We applaud his leadership at the First International Convention of the Negro Peoples of the World in Harlem, New York, in 1920 where, as a result of the discussions led by Marcus Garvey, the Declaration of the Rights of the Negro Peoples of the World was promulgated,” she said.

The minister was speaking in a video message played during activities marking IDPAD at Liberty Hall on King Street in downtown Kingston, on Wednesday, August 31.

Liberty Hall was the centre of activities for the Kingston Division of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), the largest pan-African mass movement in history, which was founded by Garvey in 1914.

Ms Grange said IDPAD represents another “significant occasion” for the nation to pause and commemorate the country’s outstanding people of African descent who have made notable contributions locally, and also put Jamaica on the map”.

These individuals, the minister pointed out, include Garvey, Robert Nesta ‘Bob’ Marley, Usain Bolt, Louise ‘Miss Lou’ Bennett-Coverley, and Miss World 2019, Toni-Ann Singh.

“They have all contributed and shared in the mission of realising the full potential of our people,” Ms Grange said.

The minister said she regards IDPAD as a “coming together of our struggles, strengths and resilience as a people”, as well as a chance “to know, to celebrate, and to see each other and see ourselves beyond the viewpoint of struggle, resistance and oppression”.

To this end, Ms Grange said she remains hopeful because of the giftedness of the Jamaicans as well as their warmth, creativity, dynamism, and indomitable spirit that have resulted in excellence in all sectors.

“It is by tapping into the gifts and awakening this spirit of the Jamaican people that we will, by God’s grace, regroup, re-engineer and reopen to a brighter future. With culture, gender, entertainment, and sport, we will reignite a nation for greatness,” she added.

AFRICAN DESCENT

Ms Grange further pointed out that since the Declaration of the International Decade for People of African Descent, Jamaica, as a country, and her ministry have been promoting and advancing the attendant causes in all programmes and activities undertaken locally.

This, she said, through the three pillars underpinning the period – recognition, justice, and development.

The International Decade for People of African Descent, which runs from 2015 to 2024, was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in a Resolution adopted on December 23, 2013.

The period aims to promote respect, protection and fulfilment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by people of African descent, as recognised in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; promote a greater knowledge of and respect for the diverse heritage, culture and contribution of people of African descent to the development of societies; and adopt and strengthen national, regional and international legal frameworks according to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and ensure their full and effective implementation.

The theme for the Decade is: ‘People of African Descent: Recognition, Justice and Development’.

- JIS