Every year, the United Nations commemorates the history of slavery with a day of discussions and cultural events,. The annual event, entitled “The International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade” takes place on March 25th, a date designated by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007.
This year’s event coincided with the beginning of The International Decade for People of African Descent. The decade long commemoration will serve to highlight the contributions made by the people who trace their roots to Africa as well as ensure their human rights are protected. To mark the beginning of this occasion, the annual commemoration served to unveil “The Ark of Return”, or The Permanent Memorial to Honour the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.. The monument was designed by Rodney Leon, a Haitian American architect who previously designed the African Burial Ground National Monument, located near City Hall in lower Manhattan. The process to bring this monument to life was led by His Excellency, Courtenay Rattray, Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the United Nations and Chair of the Permanent Memorial Committee.