Open Forum: Lt. Gov. Roach Reflects on Emancipation Day

The iconic statue that symbolizes freedom in the U.S. Virgin Islands. (File photo)
The iconic statue, this one located in Cruz Bay, St. John, that symbolizes freedom in the U.S. Virgin Islands. (Source file photo)

It is with great reverence for the history of our territory and people, that I join a proud  Virgin Islands community in commemorating Emancipation Day which honors the  ancestors and their commitment to liberty. July 3, 2022, marks the 174th anniversary  of the Emancipation of the African people in the Danish West Indies.  

On this day, we celebrate the bravery, courage, and strength of our ancestors who rose  up out of bondage to demand their freedom. Their legacy remains in our hearts and  minds when we reflect on their fearless stance against the oppressive slave trade. 

I often reflect on the acts of enslavement endured by those who came before us. By  engaging in this type of reflection, I am encouraged by their sacrifices and treasure  their commitment to obtaining their freedom. This journey is not one that can ever be  overlooked, forgotten, or diminished. Their quest for freedom required unwavering  resilience and formidable perseverance. 

My gratitude is bestowed onto our ancestors, who paved the way for the liberties that  we enjoy today, even though we continue to face acts of injustice and issues that impact  our well being as a society. We must continue to hold fast to the revolutionaries, heroes,  and sheroes whose efforts for liberation offer hope and are a part of our unique history.  

We remember and honor trailblazers of this endeavor such as General Buddhoe and our Fireburn Queens, Mary, Agnes, and Mathilda for their fearless vision. 

As Virgin Islanders, we are guided by the bold, unwavering, and deep-rooted legacy of our ancestors. May we lift them up for their actions taken on July 3, 1848 and do our  part to come together and keep hope and faith alive for future generations to come.  

Happy Emancipation Day! 

– Lt. Gov. Tregenza Roach