Updated: Mar 29, 2020
The British Government is being urged to back a memorial to victims of the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, in Hyde Park.
A Petition on Change.org is calling for urgent funding for a national memorial in England that commemorates the victims of the trade in Africans. The organisation Memorial 2007 - led by Oku Ekpenyon has been campaigning for 20 years for a memorial to Remember Enslaved Africans and their Descendants. The groups website refers to the memorial themes saying:
The themes to be embraced are remembrance and legacy.
1. Remembering enslaved Africans whose lives were sacrifice during the era of trans-Atlantic slave trading and the system of slavery.
2. The legacy of economic prosperity to Britain.
“Memorialising our past is a central part of who we are as a country....This is everyone’s history.”
The group secured planning permission for a space in the Rose Gardens, in London’s Hyde Park. They have already commissioned a design by international sculptor Les Johnson and they have raised nearly £100,000, but in early November 2019 the planning permission will expire, and if the group cannot raise £4million, they will lose the site altogether.
Campaigner Ekpenyon told the Voice Online that she has contacted many Prime Ministers from Tony Blair to Boris Johnson to help, but funding has not been given.
The new petition calls on the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to fund a major national memorial to Enslaved Africans who were transported into slavery by Britain. But the clock is ticking as they only have until 7th November to secure the funding they need.
In the newspaper interview, Ekpenyon said it was important to change the fact that in Britain we commemorate our past through memorials such as those to World War I, the Holocaust, but have nothing that reflects on enslavement.
She said: …”Memorialising our past is a central part of who we are as a country. This is everyone’s history.”
To sign the petition go to Change.org.