August 1 is Emancipation Day in Canada and other countries that were once British colonies. Africans who had been enslaved in Antigua, Canada and South Africa were freed on August 1, 1834.

Africans who had been enslaved by the British in several Caribbean islands including Barbados, Dominica, Trinidad and Jamaica, in British Guiana (Britain’s sole South American colony) and in British Honduras (Britain’s sole colony in Central America) were subjected to a system of “apprenticeship” which lasted from 1834 to August 1, 1838.

Africans were forced to continue living on the plantations of the people who had enslaved them and worked 40 hours a week without pay (paid a pittance for work over 40 hours) as “apprentices.” They were forced to pay taxes and rent for the dreadful hovels in which they dwelled on the plantations. In 1838 two British men Thomas Harvey and Joseph Sturge documented the brutality of the “apprenticeship” system when they published The West Indies in 1837: Being the Journal of a Visit to Antigua, Montserrat, Dominica, St Lucia, Barbados and Jamaica, Undertaken for the Purpose of Ascertaining the Actual Conditions of the Negro Population of Those Islands. Harvey and Sturge wrote;

“A new kind of slavery under the name Apprenticeship; an anomalous condition, in which the negroes were continued, under a system of coerced and unrequited labour.” They also observed that “the planters have since succeeded in moulding the Apprenticeship into an almost perfect likeness of the system they so unwillingly relinquished.

An equal, if not greater amount, of uncompensated labor, is now extorted from the negros; while, as their owners have no longer the same interest in their health and lives, their condition, and particularly that of mothers and young children, is in many respects worse than during slavery.”

While the Africans were suffering in slave like conditions under the apprenticeship system, white people in Britain were in self congratulatory mode. The Guardian, a British newspaper, published the following piece dated Saturday August 2, 1834:

“Throughout the British dominions the sun no longer rises on a slave. Yesterday was the day from which the emancipation of all our slave population commences; and we trust the great change by which they are elevated to the rank of freemen will be found to have passed into effect in the manner most accordant with the benevolent spirit in which it was decreed, most consistent with the interests of those for whose benefit it was primarily intended, and most calculated to put an end to the apprehensions under which it was hardly to be expected that the planters could fail to labour as the moment of its consummation approaches. We shall await anxiously the arrivals from the West Indies that will bring advices to a date subsequent to the present time.”
Meanwhile on Saturday August 2, 1834, a group of Africans were on their second day of demonstrations in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad because they were furious that complete freedom was still 6 years away. Africans in the Caribbean had learned that those who worked in the fields would be apprenticed until 1840 and those who worked in the homes of the slave holders or were skilled tradesmen would be apprenticed until 1938. It is hardly surprising that on August 1, 1834 a group of angry Africans had gathered at Government House in Port of Spain. Governor George Fitzgerald Hill sent the militia out to intimidate the group but the furious Africans stood their ground recognizing that the “apprenticeship” system was a scam used by the white plantation owners and the government representatives in the Caribbean to use free African labour for a further 6 years. In spite of the presence of the militia, the protest continued until nightfall when the protesters strategically withdrew because they were not allowed to be in the town during the night.

On Saturday August 2nd, when the group of protesters returned to Government House, Hill gave the order to arrest them. There were scuffles with the militia and some of the protesting Africans were arrested, tried, sentenced to hard labour and flogging and taken to the Royal Jail. Their incensed compatriots were forced to flee but returned on the Monday to continue the protest. The numbers had swollen by Monday and there were more clashes with the militia. Some of those who were arrested on the Monday were publicly flogged in Marine Square. The protests continued the entire week before it was quelled, but several of the Africans refused to return to the plantations and instead “squatted” in districts known today as Belmont and East Dry River.

On July 25th, 1838, Governor Hill called an emergency session of the Council of Government to seek approval of a special proclamation he had drafted which ended the apprenticeship period for Africans in Trinidad on August 1, 1838 whether they worked in the fields, homes or were skilled workers. Africans throughout the region protested their continued enslavement under the Apprenticeship system and on August 1, 1838 slavery was abolished in all the British colonies.

Since the abolition of slavery Africans have celebrated August 1st as Emancipation Day or August Monday. British author J.R. Kerr-Ritchie in his 2007 published Rites of August First: Emancipation Day in the Black Atlantic World: Antislavery, Abolition, and the Atlantic World has written about the global impact of August 1.

In her 2010 published Emancipation Day: Celebrating Freedom in Canada, African Canadian author Natasha Henry has researched and written about the history of August 1 celebrations throughout Canada including the connection of Caribana (modeled on Trinidad’s carnival) to Emancipation Day.

The government of Trinidad and Tobago was the first of the former British Caribbean countries to declare August 1 a National holiday in 1985.

In 1997 the Caribbean Historical Society (CHS) of Trinidad and Tobago, supported by the Ontario Black History Society (OBHS) advocated for global recognition of August 1st as Emancipation Day.

The OBHS has been successful in gaining recognition of August 1st as Emancipation Day at the Municipal and Provincial level and close to gaining recognition at the Federal level.

On August 1st the OBHS will host an Emancipation Day event at Nathan Philips Square.

Peace is possible (prayers)

I pray for health en prosperity not only for myself, but for others. Bless our healers en peace-makers. Bless the homeless, motherless and fatherless. Bless those sick in hospital. Bless all our relatives. Bless those who pray for us, and their families. Bless our wotas en grandmama earth.

[BLOGGER’S NOTES: I give thanks that the blessings of yesterday are still here today, and I pray that they may be carried to tomorrow. I am reminded every day I go to work that “peace is possible”….. that we have to work, organise, play, reason & sing [for] it, every minute of our lives.  

I give thanks that I have such good, loving folks en pikney surrounding me, every day that I go into work, and I give thanks that I’m actually getting paid for this shit, to work for peace, and work divine/love-ly tings with government money…

I give thanks that I get to work with en teach youth right close to home, give back to my hood, and I give thanks that I was guided (to) here, where I technically/really should know more of my neighbours (forgive my sins those that I do, and don’t know about. Forgive my foolishness) ]

As we pray, we will fully understand that we are all connected. And that what we create can have lasting effects on all life.

So let us unite spiritually, All Nations, All Faiths, One Prayer. Along with this immediate effort, I also ask to please remember July 23rd, Peace is Possible Parade and Prayer Day/Honoring Egungun/Sacred Sites day. Whether it is a natural site, a temple, a church, a synagogue or just your own sacred space, let us make a prayer for all life, for good decision making by our Nations, for our children¹s future and well-being, and the generations to come.

Onipikte (that we shall live),

CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS PRESS STATEMENT:  IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DATE:       THURSDAY 1ST JULY 2010 

PLACE:           Nairobi, Kenya

 Dear Partners,

UHAI is very excited to announce the third Changing Faces Changing Spaces Conference to be held next year from 30th March – 1st April 2011. This conference offers a unique opportunity for activists, allies, partners, and donors working to build both the LGBTI and Sex Worker movements in East Africa to meet with each other and share ideas on strengthening these essential movements.

We are pleased to have the honour of convening and hosting this conference. Please mark your calendars as you prepare to participate in this valuable opportunity to share ideas, learn from partners, mourn our losses and celebrate the marvellous gains made since the last Changing Faces Changing Spaces Conference.

Block out 30th March – 1st April 2011 for Changing Faces Changing Spaces Reloaded!

Warm Regards,

UHAI Team

[Blogger`s note: en in other werd on the ground……]

KENYANS MUST PASS THE NEW CONSTITUTION TO STOP THIS DAYLIGHT ROBBERY

 Yesterday, the Kenyan nation watched in consternation as MPs dipped their fingers in the public till and stole with impunity.

It will be remembered that two years ago, 17 public spirited individuals drawn from the civil society filed Petition No. 769 of 2008 asking the Nairobi High Court to scrap the Parliamentary Service Commission and recover public resources it has squandered on MPs. This petition was certified as urgent by Justice Nyamu. Justice Nyamu also disqualified himself from the case and referred it to the Chief Justice for him to constitute a bench to hear it. This is the last that was heard of the matter.

In response to this, the PSC constituted the Akiwumi tribunal whose report they adopted yesterday. The adoption of the report seems to us as “gold rush” by the MPs who feel threatened by the wave of a new constitution and therefore want to benefit more before an anti-theft legislation is enacted by the people of Kenya on 4th August 2010.

It is tragic that our Parliament is not able to agree on important development issues, but it took merely 30 minutes of debate yesterday evening for them to award themselves this unethical pay rise.

Our MP’s are presently paid  Ksh 851,000 and they seek to increase this amount  to 1.1million which is  400 times more than the minimum wage for the lowest paid worker   On top of this increase they seek to increase the present sitting allowances from the present  10,000 to 30,000 shillings.

Members of Parliament take home a severance package of Ksh 1.5million every 5 years, this will now be increased to 3.6million. Parliament has issued instructions to the Minister of Finance Honorable Uhuru Kenyatta to allocate money for this increase backdated to 2008. Where will this money come from? The budget is presently running a deficit of Sh223 billion.  Parliament has threatened refuse to pass budget appropriations and effectively stall government operations.

The adoption of a report promoting theft of public resources is the greatest betrayal the Kenyan citizens can get from their representatives. Being an MP is about service, not about self enrichment. We condemn them in the strongest terms possible.

We would like to note that the Proposed Constitution of Kenya sets up  the Salaries and Remuneration Commission  and its role as captured in Article 230 (4) (a) will be to “set and regularly review the remuneration and benefits of State officers” and this includes MPs. Whereas MPs in Naivasha had wanted to still retain powers of the Parliamentary Service Commission ( PSC) to appoint tribunal to make recommendations on their salaries the COE disagreed and though the PSC was retained, this function which enables MPs to increase their salaries at will, was removed.  

Further Article 116 (3) of the proposed constitution says that any law or policy that “confers a direct pecuniary interest on members of parliament shall not come into force until the next general election of members of Parliament”

In respect of this, we state as follows

  • We caution that if the PCK is opened up for amendment, as some members of Parliament and some other anti-reform individuals and sectors are saying, MPs will remove this safeguard against theft of public funds. 
  • We demand that the Chief Justice expediently sets up a bench to hear that petition as it is overdue considering what Kenyans are going through
  • We announce operation rudi nyumbani for these MPs in 2012. When there was violence in 20007/8, parliament never saw to it that all IDPs were resettled. The many paper shelters dotted across the country is a testimony to this. Now they have, once again, stolen from Kenyans. MPs waende nyumbani.

Finally, we urge all Kenyans, regardless of religion or creed, regardless of ethnic background, regardless of their views on the Proposed constitution so far, to understand that the PCK is the only weapon we have to protect ourselves from this greed, and therefore to vote Yes for the constitution.

SIGNED THIS 1ST Day of JULY 2010, BY:

NAME ORGANISATION SIGNATURE
 molisa nyakale  peace theatre  
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

 

[blogger’s note: and because sharing is caring, spread the werd, we’re re-building loving and peaceful communities]

For folks who participated in any of the public marches and rallies leading up to and during the G20 meetings, who have experienced or witnessed police brutality and who would like to share stories about what really happened in the streets of Toronto here is a compilation of links, sites and spaces that you can share your stories, testimonials and incident reports.

It is so important that our stories be documented, compiled and shared because main stream media will not do this for us, because we need to hold Toronto’s police force and City Hall accountable for their actions, because we need to leverage this information to help innocent people get released free of charges from prison, because we can’t let the violence against peaceful demonstrators and community organizers of this past weekend be silenced, because we can’t let property damage and the actions of few mask the real violent terrorism of G20 and IMF on a global scale.

Please continue to stand and be counted. Peace.

 

1. To file an official police complaint:
– Against the RCMP (commission for public complaints against the RCMP): www.cpc-cpp.gc.ca
– Against the O.P.P or Toronto Police (office of the independent police review director): www.oiprd.on.ca

 2. If you would like to share experiences and seek peer support please email peertopeersupportforactivists@gmail.com.

 3. If you would like to share your story and support the call for a public inquiry go to this site. They are doing a large scale compilation of incident reports. The more reports they collect the more power they have to make class action suits against Toronto Police, to request a city sanctioned inquiry (which has been refused already by mayor miller) and to demand Police Chief Bill Blair:
www.g20inquiry.org

 4. Demand answers. Get the truth. “Canadians Demand a Public Inquiry” facebook group.
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=135629036463012

 5. Canadian Civil Liberties Association is collecting information & testimonials. They also had many objective observers at several marches, rallies and police clashes (folks in white caps).
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Canadian-Civil-Liberties-Association/80851911931?ref=ts
www.ccla.org

 
6. Write to your MP, your MPP, your local councillor, the mayor, etc.  Find them at:
pm@pm.gc.ca
http://canada.gc.ca/directories-repertoires/direct-eng.html#mp
http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/members/members_current.do?locale=en
mayor_miller@toronto.ca
http://app.toronto.ca/im/council/councillors.jsp

 7. Rabble Blog, to post videos, responses, articles & photos:
http://rabble.ca/issues/g8-g20

 8. G20 Alternative Media Centre: Post stories & articles, tweets, youtube videos, photos:
http://2010.mediacoop.ca/

 9. Toronto Star is conducting a poll: “Do you think the police response to weekend
G20 protests was heavy-handed, or was it appropriate given the threats?” Vote! http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/article/829601–g20-editorial-brutal-spectacle-failed-a-city-and-its-people

 10. CBC Radio is developing a series to share the stories of several individuals (activists, community organizers, folks who were arrested etc.) who participated in the G20 demonstrations. You can contact the senior producer, social media, Kim Fox if you would like to participate and share your stories publicly:
– 416-205-2130
kim.fox@cbc.ca
list(ing)s compiled by

Natalyn Tremblay
Co-Director and Program Coordinator
www.thepeopleproject.org
info@thepeopleproject.org
(647)-231-5844

A Global Citizen has:
The wisdom to perceive the interconnectedness of all life.
The courage to embrace difference, to respect and strive to understand people of different cultures and to grow from these encounters.
The compassion to maintain an imaginative empathy that reaches beyond one’s immediate surroundings and extends across the world over.
                                        – Buddhist Philosopher Daisaku Ikeda

 

(next on the Q[‘t] werd: peace camp & the Peace is Possible (PiP summer) workshops for pikney en youth)

ase. ase……