July 3, 2019 marks the 171st Anniversary of the Emancipation of enslaved African people in the Danish West Indies. It is a celebration of the ancestors who demanded their freedom after centuries of oppression under the most inhuman conditions.

The celebration of Emancipation Day, July 3, 1848, is an intrinsically beautiful celebration of freedom, but it is also an occasion to recognize the horrors of that enslavement and the tremendous sacrifices made by the ancestors in that quest for freedom and liberty.

In commemorating the events of Emancipation Day, it is incumbent on us to pay tribute to all those brave and noble men and women whose efforts ensured the freedom we today enjoy and to commit ourselves to preserving and advancing the ideals of freedom, liberty, and justice.

As we recognize this momentous day in our history, several organizations will host activities throughout the Territory. I encourage residents to participate in the Emancipation Day activities that are being held in celebration of our ancestors. Their determination and their active rebellion and struggle should continue to inspire us all.

In memory of those who paved the way for us, we must treasure these beautiful islands which we are now privileged to inhabit and call home. We must be keen stewards of the land and the water and work to ensure an even brighter future for those to come.

Happy Emancipation Day.