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The Guyana Trades Union Congress extends Emancipation greetings to all Guyanese, particularly our African brothers and sisters whose ancestors were enslaved for centuries as property, cargo of another race (Europeans).
183 years ago, the valiant struggle by Africans for human dignity and respect was advanced a step further with the Emancipation Proclamation which ended the most brutish system of man’s injustice towards another. Freedom from chattel slavery not only set in train a series of events proving to the world the indomitable spirit of the newly freed, and the capacity of human fellowship across racial diversity, but that of self-determination in charting a course for further up-liftment and development.
The nation will recall the dogged pursuit for economic freedom, via the Village Movement, that saw the purchasing of plantations to establish communities, local government, build stability, familial and otherwise, and advance development. This sense of thrift not only proved beyond a shadow of doubt a people’s capability, who though for hundreds of years toiled and lived under inhumane conditions, whips reigning down on their backs, families torn asunder, treated as property not human beings, in the four-year of Amelioration (1834-1838) were able to achieve what others thought impossible.
The achievements must not only be testimony of the ability to self-determine but also determination not to be enslaved or constrained by past unpleasantries. Heirs and beneficiaries of these struggles, sacrifices and gains must engage in redoubling of efforts, vigilance and insistence to be allowed to continue the forebears’ work. Zealously defending, protecting, strengthening and deepening what was bequeathed and leaving a firmer foundation for future generations must become the mantra and solemn pledge.
Freedom is not free; it requires eternal vigilance and continuous sacrifices. To the extent where Africans are deprived of equality in the social, cultural, political, civic and economic environment, all out efforts must be made to secure these. And let it be said, in the pursuit of said determination, it must matter not the identity or diversity of those who suppress or support the cause. The only thing that must matter is the cause, for it speaks to and solidifies the inalienable rights of all humankind. To ignore this would be unlike the ancestors who worked with others in furtherance of their interests and resisted any who participated in their enslavement and deprivations.
With determination and commitment anything is possible, and descendants of the enslaved must continue the unfinished journey to freedom. Emancipation merely marks an attainment, significant though it is, it is not the final marker/finishing post for freedom.
The struggle must continue!