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VII Inter-American Week for People of African Descent in the Americas

  March 14, 2024

The Organization of American States (OAS) commemorates the Inter-American Week for People of African Descent in the Americas from March 18-25, 2024, with a series of activities to mark this annual event, now in its seventh year.

The events aim to raise awareness about the legacy of slavery and the slave trade, their consequence on the lives of people of African descent, and recognize the ample contributions made by people of African descent towards the development of societies.

This year's theme, “Global Freedom: Emancipate Yourself from Mental Slavery,” draws inspiration from the words of Jamaican Pan-Africanist Marcus Garvey, which were popularized by the legendary Bob Marley in his iconic “Redemption Song.”

The activities will address the psychological and mental impact of the legacy of slavery by raising awareness about negative perceptions of African/Black people and culture, highlighting the societal contributions of persons of African Descent, and challenging preconceived biased notions about African/Black people and culture.

The OAS Chair of the Permanent Council, Ambassador Daniel Raimondi, Secretary General, Luis Almagro, and Assistant Secretary General, Ambassador Nestor Mendez, will launch the Week on Monday, March 18 with a ceremony at OAS Headquarters in Washington, D.C, which will feature presentations centered and performances around the theme of Afro-descendant culture and history.

This year’s activities will include:

From March 18 to 25:
• A special section on the OAS Website to highlight the influence of Afro-descendants in shaping our societies by profiling renowned personalities who have uplifted and promoted African/Black culture and identity in their respective fields. The profiles submitted by Member States will be showcased on this webpage.

• The Adult, Youth, and Children Reading Corner, an online activity to promote the importance and significance of African/Black identity and culture, will feature submission of works of fiction (poetry, drama, or prose) or non-fiction which illustrate the fortitude, perseverance and heritage of people of African descent in the Americas.

March 19: A Special Edition of the Tea Party Social podcast "Storytime with Miss Yolande,” as part of the Adult, Youth, and Children Reading Corner, will feature readings by Ambassador Yolande Yvonne Smith, Senior Advisor to the OAS Assistant Secretary General, who will present selected works selectively curated for the Inter-American Week for People of African Descent in the Americas.

March 19|14:00 EDT (18:00 GMT): A webinar organized by the Secretariat for Access to Rights and Equity (SARE) will feature a panel discussion on the topic, “The Legacy of African Religious Practices and the Societal Biases and Prejudice they face.

March 21| 10:00 EDT (14:00 GMT): A Round Table discussion on “Strategies for Economic Empowerment of Women of African Descent” hosted by the Permanent Mission of Brazil to the OAS and the Permanent Mission of Colombia to the OAS. Panelists will discuss strategies and challenges for economic empowerment of women of African descent by focusing on key issues related to the invisibility of gender and race, intergenerational poverty, economic empowerment instruments, and the corresponding hardships that women of African descent face.

March 22| 11:00 EDT (15:00 GMT) Spanish | 14:00 EDT (18:00 GMT) English: A Special Edition of a Chat with the OAS, a virtual, live event organized by Representatives in OAS Country Offices, will feature panelists addressing the Week’s theme.

March 25| 10:30 EDT (14:30 GMT): The OAS Permanent Council will hold a special session to commemorate the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the Inter-American Week.

March 25| 14:00 EDT (18:00 GMT): A webinar hosted by the Inter-American Network of High Authorities on Policies for Afro-descendant Populations (RIAFRO) on the topic, “Why do we need a Declaration on the Rights of People of African Descent?

Additionally, the Organization’s Country Offices will hold cultural activities and events in respective Member States, focused on the Week’s theme.

Consult the agenda here.

WHAT: VII Inter-American Week for People of African Descent in the Americas

WHEN: March 18-25, 2024

WHERE: OAS Headquarters, General Secretariat Offices in Member States and on social media.

Reference: AVI-028/24