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Public Invited to Bi-Annual Maroon Commemoration on St. Croix on Sept. 26

Members of the Virgin Islands community young and old are invited to the bi-annual commemoration of the Maroons of St. Croix from 2:45 to 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 26. The event will take place at the Great Hall on UVI’s Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix. It will begin with a sacred reflection near the adjacent baobab tree and be followed with an interactive and mixed media roundtable discussion. The event theme is “Evoking the Maroon Legacy through the Arts, Spirituality, Archaeology, History and Public Policy.” Roundtable participants will include visual artist LaVaughn Belle, David Goldstein of the National Park Service, George F. Tyson of VISHA, Chenzira Davis Kahina representing VICCC/CSAP, and by Olasee Davis representing UVI’s extension service and the St. Croix Hiking Association. They will present an overview of what their individual disciplines bring to discovering, understanding, and honoring the maroon legacy. Discussion with audience members will follow.

The commemoration is sponsored by SUCCEED, Inc. in collaboration with the Virgin Islands Caribbean Cultural Center (VICCC) and the Center for the Study of Spirituality and Professionalism (CSAP) at UVI. Since 2012, VI Maroon Commemoration events and proclamations have represented the ongoing effort to foster territory-wide recognition of a significant aspect of Virgin Islands heritage. According to SUCCEED, “The Maroon cultural legacy is Crucian... The Maroon spiritual legacy is Universal.” These observances and ceremonies honor the indomitable human spirit that inspired St. Croix’s enslaved Africans to escape and pursue freedom at any cost. This included negotiating through third parties for better conditions, living in caves or hillsides along the rugged northwest coast, embarking in boats for nearby Puerto Rico, and embracing spiritual life over re-enslavement.

SUCCEED plans to initiate a four-month outreach and awareness program to encourage interested persons to  create artwork, poetry or prose depicting what they believe daily life as a Maroon may have been like for children or adults and men or women. Submitted presentations will be included in Succeed’s display at the 2015 Agriculture Fair. One goal of these exhibitions and projects will be to enhance local and global understanding and recognition of the maroons of St. Croix, and to support the establishment of a Maroon Sanctuary Park in St. Croix’s Northwest Quadrant. For more information and to RSVP, call (340) 772-9685, (340) 692-4272 or (340) 692-4283.