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Open Letter to Animal Rebellion

By Toyin Agbetu | Sun 18 August 2019

Protesters attempt to hijack Sankofa Day stage

Toyin Agbetu suggests that the attempted hijacking of Sankofa Day by vegan and antifascists activist at Trafalgar Square 2019, achieves nothing but further divide those who should be united in the fight against capitalist exploitation and oppression.


Dear Animal Rebellion,

My name is Toyin Agbetu, I am a Pan-Africanist, but equally as important, I am a father who attended Sankofa Day yesterday at Trafalgar Square with his close and extended family to honour our Ancestors.

Sankofa Day occurs annually, between 1 pm and 4 pm, and is hosted by the grassroots organisation Slavery Remembrance. Each year we gather at Trafalgar Square to commemorate the lives of our Ancestors, lost to the savage brutality of slavery, colonialism and imperialism. We honour the sacrifices of our Elders savaged by the toxic anti-Windrush policies of this and previous governments, we also reflect on the young people in our community who are losing their lives on the streets of Brexit UK and facing daily assaults by thuggish police officers.

This year, on 17 August 2019, while we were peacefully reflecting on Afriphobia which is a legacy of this history, several supporters to your cause rudely and aggressively, invaded our space, attempting to hijack our stage and disrupt our rituals of remembrance.

That was disrespectful.

Sanofa Day 2019 - Wall of Remembrance


A Warning

I write this not to suggest your cause is unjust, I am a vegan and anarchist in all but name. You may not know that just over a fortnight ago I one of the hundreds, alongside allies from Extinction Rebellion that marched from Brixton to Westminster in support of a campaign for reparations that also challenges the ecocide leading to global environmental and animal rights violations.

But I do write this to state you must never again violate our time and space to grieve, honour and celebrate those whose revolutionary direct actions in Ayiti in 1804 led to the moral understanding of human rights granting us the freedom to protest across the world today.

In Peace and Solidarity.

*The final UNESCO’s Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition takes place on Monday 19th August 2019 at City Hall at 6 pm.

** UN International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024)
www.un.org/en/events/africandescentdecade


Sankofa Day 2019


External Links
Sankofa Day
Animal Rebellion
City Hall hosts UNESCOs Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition
MEPs pass watershed resolution calling for action against Afriphobia
International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition


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Speak Out!

Were you at Sankofa Day 2019 with your friends or family? How did the incidents make you feel?
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You must never again violate our time and space to grieve, honour and celebrate those whose revolutionary direct actions in Ayiti in 1804 led to the moral understanding of human rights granting us the freedom to protest across the world today.

Toyin Agbetu, Ligali

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*UPDATE* Received - 21 August 2019

\"Hello Toyin,

We deeply regret that our demonstration clashed with Shakofa Day. This was certainly not our intention and was not done purposefully. This was an error of communication and our stewards were ill informed on the day which we apologise for.

Despite this, your space to grieve your ancestors, reconnect to your identity, remember and reclaim history was invaded. We understand that in order to end speciesism and the climate crisis we must heal from and liberate ourselves from all forms of oppression that have arisen through imperialism, colonialism and invasion - the effects of which we still see today. We share a hope to create a world that is kinder to people, animals and the planet.

In terms of the insensitive behaviour that you experienced; as a new and rapidly growing movement we are always working to redefine a culture built on oppression to one that is inclusive and resilient while promoting care and respect. This was a failing on our part due to the fact that we didn’t translate this to our stewards nor did we consider who would be in Trafalgar Square on Saturday.

We would like to extend an invitation to you, if you would like to discuss this issue further, to come into our offices. This may be a way in which to heal and learn from the event and we would like to express our solidarity with you and the wider cause.

Kind regards,
Animal Rebellion \"

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