A memorial dedicated to enslaved people was unveiled in Utrecht on Friday afternoon. The Vlucht en Verzet Monument, or ‘Escape and Resistance’, is located in Griftpark. The park is also Utrecht’s central location for commemoration and celebration of the abolition of slavery in Suriname and the Dutch Caribbean. The 150th anniversary of the virtual abolition of slavery will be celebrated on Saturday during the still-unofficial Ketty Coty holiday.
Utrecht Mayor Sharon Dyksma, City Councilor Linda Voortmann and Leroy Lucas, who initiated the project for the new monument, jointly unveiled the monument.
“Today we look back on the history of slavery in the realization that it is one of the darkest aspects of human history, the history of the Netherlands and, unfortunately, the history of Utrecht.” Dixma said. She added that not enough attention has been paid to this aspect of history “for too long.” “And there is no room to talk about the impact of this past unless we talk about it: healing, recovery and taking action towards equality for the Afro-Dutch community.”
The mayor already apologized last year for the city’s role in the history of slavery. The city was closely associated with and benefited from the slave trade. “An apology opens the door to the future. It’s a door to keep walking together and working together in healing and recovery. I see the unveiling of this monument as the next big and special step,” Dixma said. .
“The shape of the black concrete base represents the triangular trade between Europe, Africa and America,” the city said. “There’s a small cove on the side, just as big as the space the slaves were on board.”
Diksma said the monument provided the right place to hold the memorial ceremony. “But it also asks us to keep fighting, to keep going, not to give up. We are not there yet. To resist racism, discrimination and exclusion of any kind. is still needed.”
The Ketty Coty Festival takes place on Saturdays at Grift Park with speeches, music, dancing and food. Performances, walks, lectures and other activities were scheduled elsewhere in the city on Friday and Saturday.
https://nltimes.nl/2023/06/30/utrecht-monument-abolition-slavery-unveiled-friday Utrecht Abolition Monument to be unveiled on Friday