6 June 2019

A Learned Community: ASPIRE Chapter of East Stroudsburg South High School Participates in Remember Slavery Global Video Conference

The students of the ASPIRE Chapter of East Stroudsburg South High School, Pennsylvania were among 400 participants from around the world who participated in the Remember Slavery Global Video Conference on 10 May at UN Headquarters hosted by the Education Outreach Section of the UN Department of Global Communications.  Students participated in person and via videoconference to discuss topics such as the transatlantic slave trade’s impact upon our lives today, forgiveness and acknowledgement, as well as messages of hope going forward.

East Stroudsburg South High School students had the opportunity to engage with global leaders including Ambassador Inga Rhonda King of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Ambassador Mauro Vieira of Brazil.  Essence Gant, Beauty Director Buzzfeed, and Rodney Leon, designer of The Ark of the Return, the UN permanent memorial to honor the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade, captivated students with their lectures, answered all questions and stayed long after their panel presentations to take photos and interact with students directly.

The power and possibility of the United Nations as an agent of peace and prosperity was fully exemplified through a section of the conference devoted to student presentations on artists and activists of African heritage.  ASPIRE students Nissy Awuah, Adriela Benjamin, Nisha Awuah, and Aneesa Anglon presented on Barbara Jones-Hogu, a painter and co-founder of AfriCOBRA, a collective of African-American artists based in Chicago.

At the conclusion of the event, attendees were urged to take the day’s message forward and encouraged to remain engaged on the issues discussed.  After exiting the conference room students walked to the Ark of the Return in the UN Visitors Plaza. This group who began the day as strangers were now part of a learned community who can go forward to affect positive change, engage in dialogue and challenge stereotypes and stigma in the hope of making their world a stronger and closer community.