Since 2021, 31st August has been annually celebrated as the International Day for people of African descent. This day is observed to celebrate the exceptional contributions of the African diaspora around the world and to end all forms of discrimination that people of African descent face.
In 2020, while reviewing the progress made during the International Decade for People of African Descent, it was brought to light that people of African descent were still the victims of racial discrimination, marginalization, and exclusion. The barrier to their enjoyment of human rights was witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic when they faced inequality and systematic racism in the healthcare system. The death of George Floyd also led to global discussions regarding the justice system as there was a worldwide protest against racism and racial discrimination.
There are various ways to celebrate the International Day for People of African Descent. We can visit museums and memorials that exhibit African history and traditions, and provide information about their achievements, struggles, and contributions. We can promote the expression and creativity of African artists’ literature, art, music, and film. Books by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Toni Morrison are highly recommended to learn more about the stigma that society has attached to people of African descent because of their color. We can read about the Transatlantic Slave Trade and educate the children as well so that the culture of peace can be promoted among future generations. We can join, organize, or participate in festivals, workshops, lectures, or performances that promote the diverse and vibrant African culture. We can also donate or volunteer for organizations that aim to empower people of African descent and work against racial inequalities.
International Day for People of African Descent is a tribute to the valuable contributions made by people of African descent as well as a reminder to the world to express solidarity with people of African descent around the world. It is essential that we highlight their challenges revolving around racism and discrimination, poverty, violence, and lack of recognition and justice, in order to advocate for their rights and inclusion with the aim of making a transformative change.