Headline — 01 August 2018 — by Rowland A. Parks
Belize welcomes Professor Bayyinah Bello

Emancipation Day theme is “Free Your Mind”

BELIZE CITY, Mon. July 30, 2018– For several years now, the United Black Association for Development (UBAD) Education Foundation (UEF) has been sponsoring a guest lecturer to commemorate and honor Belize’s African ancestors on the anniversary of Emancipation Day, when slaves in the English-speaking Caribbean were freed on August 1, 1834.

The theme for this year’s Emancipation Day is “Free Your Mind,” and the UEF guest lecturer for this year’s Emancipation Day activities is Professor Bayyinah Bello, a Haitian historian, teacher, writer and humanitarian worker who has traveled extensively in Africa for almost two decades and is also a professor of history at the State University of Haiti.

Professor Bello arrived in Belize this morning and was met at the Philip Goldson International Airport by the UEF chairperson YaYa Marin Coleman, KREMANDALA chairman Evan X Hyde, and UEF members Rufus X, Nicolette Foreman (Nzinga) and Melonie Price (Nyahbingi).

Professor Bello is the founder and head of Fondasyon Félicité, a research group based in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

“Fondasyon Félicité is an 18-year-old foundation that concentrates on doing research for our people to become themselves again,” Professor Bello told Amandala this afternoon in a brief, exclusive interview.

“After 400 years of slavery and centuries of colonialization and mis-education, our people are no longer who they really are, and we have lost the knowledge of self. Therefore, that is the most important thing for us to accomplish today, to get back to being who we are. So that’s what Fondasyon Félicité does,” Professor Bello said.

Professor Bello explained that her work takes her all around the world. “This week I am here with you in Belize; starting August 15, I will be in Jamaica, celebrating Marcus Garvey’s birthday, and then I will be in Peru for a native American activity.”

We asked Professor Bello to detail for us some of her accomplishments.

“Well, the most important thing that anybody can accomplish is a knowledge of self,” Professor Bello replied.

She added, “Going to school, getting degrees, writing books, getting jobs, these are things that one does, but these are not accomplishments. So, all of us are on the same road: the road of knowledge of self. And the only points that are important are the ones that we mark to knowledge of self.

“In fact, the reason many of our countries do not function properly is because we do not know who we are. And if we don’t know who we are, how can we make decisions that are in the interest of the large population? If we have no knowledge, no clue as to who we are, then it is impossible to figure out what would be good 20, 40 years down the road for those yet to be born.

“When you are functioning as the head of a nation, those are the decisions you need to make. Not only the decisions that are correct and just for the ones that are present, but you must also be correct and just for those who have gone before you, and be correct and just for those who are yet to come.”

YaYa Marin Coleman told Amandala that what Professor Bello will be presenting is not a lecture, but a dialogue with us that will take place on Wednesday, August 1, at the Gateway Youth Center from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.

“On Emancipation eve on July 31, from 10:30 p.m. to 12: 30 a.m. at the Queen Street Baptist Church, is our Jubilee Action and then on Emancipation morning, from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. on Marine Parade, near the boat rock (opposite Golden Bay), we will gather for our drum call and flowers and petals release. We are asking people to wear white”, Marin-Coleman said.

Professor Bello will be on the WUB morning show with host Mose Hyde tomorrow, Tuesday morning.

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Deshawn Swasey

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