The Charleston Remembrance Committee, chaired by Azikwe Chandler is hosting the 15th annual Remembrance Program on June 9 in honor of the Africans who died on the Middle Passage during the slave trade.
Chandler's father Osei, along with Deborah Wright, started the Charleston Remembrance Committee 15 years ago when the ceremonies were only happening in New York and Ghana. “It’s important, since so many Africans entered North America through Charleston,” Chandler says.
Chandler recently moved down here to attend graduate school at the College of Charleston and take over his father’s position (who just retired from chair of the committee) and lead the ceremony. Wright has been promoting the ceremony nationally and will be in Virginia on Saturday for their ceremony.
The local ceremony will be taking place simultaneously with New York, San Francisco, Virginia, Washington, Ghana, Panama, and Brazil. Since it’s a growing trend, Chandler is always welcoming new members to the committee to become a part of the Remembrance Program. “I would like to see this grow,” says Chandler, “the more people we get involved the more educational it will be.”
The ceremony will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., starting at the Fort Moultrie Visitor’s Center, starting with an educational presentation on the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade. “I like the educational piece because it is important for people to understand what this ceremony is honoring and Charleston’s influence on it all,” Chandler says.
A drumming and dancing procession will take participants out to the beach. At noon, everyone will join hands to pour libations and say a prayer in honor of those who have died. “This is really special because others are praying at the same time all over the world,” Chandler says. “And a world at prayer is a world at peace.”