June 20, 2004 – The St. Croix chapter of the Maafa Collective & Beyond and St. Paul Community Baptist Church in Brooklyn, N.Y., are presenting the 2nd annual Maafa Commemoration on St. Croix, with events scheduled for June 29 through July 4.
Five activities are planned:
June 29, 7 to 9:30 p.m. — An evening with Edwin Nichols and friends, Melvin Evans Center theater, University of the Virgin Islands, with a videoconference hookup to the UVI St. Thomas campus in Room B-110 of the Business Administration Building.
July 1, 5:30 a.m. Sunrise prayer and fellowship at the Fort Christiansvaern bandstand. All are asked to wear white.
July 1, 6-9 p.m. Maafa dramatic presentation, Fort Frederik Museum.
July 3 (no time given) Sunset prayer and fellowship, Dorsch Beach. All are asked to wear white.
July 4, 9 a.m. Maafa Sunday at Kingshill Lutheran Church, annointing service with Nicholas C. Cooper-Lewter.
All of the events are open to the public and free, although donations will be accepted.
"Maafa is a Kiswahili term which gives definition to the catastrophic events experienced by millions of African people during the Middle Passage from Africa bound for enslavement in the America," a release states. "The word Maafa is the concept of Dr. Marimba Ani, African American scholar and author; however, its breath of life lives through Dr Johnny Ray Youngblood and the congregation of the St. Paul Community Baptist Church, Brooklyn, N.Y., since 1994."
Nichols is a clinical/industrial psychologist working in organizational development. He is the director of Nichols and Associates, an applied behavioral science firm which helps organizations achieve "systemic congruence through cultural competence."
Cooper-Lewter is a psychologist and consultant who is a visiting professor of social work at the University of South Carolina College of Social Work. He is the author of "Black Grief and Soul Therapy" and "Soul Theology: The Hear of American Culture."
Also featured as part of the commemoration is Sister Runette Nia Ebo, whose poem "Lord, Why Did You Make Me Black?" is "a classic in African-American communities as Author Unknown," the release states. She has self-published eight books of poetry, is involved in a mentoring program in Philadelphia and travels extensively on speaking engagements.
Emancipation Anniversary Observances
The release also notes: "July 3, 2004, is the 156th anniversary of the emancipation and the end of the physical system of slavery for the Africans of the Virgin Islands. This is a sacred time of reflection for our entire community and the world at large to come together in a way that heals and uplifts us for the greater good of our community, nation and humanity."
The following activities presented by other groups will mark Emancipation Day on St. Croix, the release stated:
July 2, 7 p.m. Tea meeting sponsored by the V.I. Cultural Heritage Institute and the Tourism Department, Fort Frederik Museum; $7 donation.
July 3, 11 a.m. 156th anniversary emancipation celebration program; Freedom March to Buddhoe Park, emancipation re-enactment featuring St. Croix Center Stage, UP Stage and St. Croix Heritage Dancers; Sample St. Croix in the visual, performing and culinary arts.
July 4, 1 p.m. Donkey races sponsored by American Legion Post 85, Paul E. Joseph Stadium.
July 4, 4 p.m. Cultural Music and Food Festival sponsored by Rotary West, Buddhoe Park.
July 4, 8:30 p.m. Fireworks on the Frederiksted waterfront.
For more information about the Maafa Commemoration, send an e-mail to Linda Lacy or call her at 772-2079.
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