Minister Silveria Jacobs Emancipation Day Address

Black National Anthem
“Lift every voice and sing Till earth and heaven ring, Ring with the harmonies of Liberty; Let our rejoicing rise, High as the list’ning skies, Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.

Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us,
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun, Let us march on till victory is won.

Stony the road we trod, Bitter the chastening rod, Felt in the days when hope unborn had died; Yet with a steady beat, Have not our weary feet Come to the place for which our fathers died

We have come over a way that with tears has been watered, We have come treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered, Out from the gloomy past, till now we stand at last Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, Thou who hast brought us thus far on the way; Thou who has by Thy might Led us into the light, Keep us forever in the path, we pray.

Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee, Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forgot Thee, Shadowed beneath Thy hand, may we forever stand, True to our God, true to our native land.”
– James Weldon Johnson

Having learned this song as a young adult during Caribbean History, it touches my soul every time I hear it and I am reminded of the battle that was fought for freedom.
Today July 1st 2016 as we celebrate Emancipation Day for only the 5th time- I call on all people to remember the atrocities of the past, of how a people were enslaved and fought to be free, declared themselves free and today can say we have achieved what our ancestors have dreamed, prayed and fought for. The Diamond 26 who ran for freedom as well as countless others who toiled and sweated for unpaid wages, but in the end could claim this land.
We have a history of hard workers, who pulled themselves up, despite the injustices meted put against them… a legacy of determination, strength of body, soul and mind to envision a life of freedom for all.
Today we have those freedoms and rights as human beings…. do we scoff at our past, keep buried in shame, or use it as incentive to continue to strive?
Freedom today means Choices, Decisions and Determining your own path. Forge on S’Maatin, seek your rightful place… we each have a path… envision your life and work towards it. Freedom is yours.. use it wisely.
Happy emancipation day you all, May God bless us as we forge on!

Source: St. Martin News Network
Minister Silveria Jacobs Emancipation Day Address