ADT Spotlight

Bermuda’s Former Premier explains initiative on African Diaspora Heritage Trails

brown_and_Obama “It is time to ignite the fire and we must not stop now,” says the Honorable Dr. Ewart F. Brown, former Premier of Bermuda, who also served as the country’s Minister of Tourism and Transportation. The leader of this Renaissance movement to reawaken awareness of African heritage worldwide, Dr. Brown has continued to surge his plans forward through the African Diaspora Heritage Trail (ADHT) initiative, a program that was put in place by the Bermudian Government over ten years ago.  Goals of the ADHT initiative include educating communities, promoting visitation, enhancing the economic viability of African Diaspora countries, and conserving the essence of Africa traditions, culture and history.

Dr. Brown explained that there is more to our African heritage than dress, fashion, changing names and hairstyles. “Being an African is more than those things, it is a method of thinking, it is an outlook and above all it is a sense of history,” asserts the charismatic leader, who first became the Minister of Tourism and Transportation in 2004. Premier Brown believes that these dual roles along with being the country’s leader have helped in spreading the word about ADHT, Bermuda, its tourism products and all the attractive features the country has to offer.  “I have always tried to strike the right balance in any project I engage in,” he says.

Pyramid_Couple2Ali and Helen Salahuddin founded the d’zert Club in 1992 in Philadelphia as a social organization for black youths. Ali, an international businessman and Helen, an entertainment attorney coordinated positive entertainment and cultural events for the students including such activities as birthday and graduation parties, talent shows, educational workshops, political forums and field trips. As a part of this club, the husband-wife team implemented Teen Summit 1000 in 1997 where students took part in a program where they got a chance to travel to Africa upon completion.

The couple then went on to initiate the African Genesis Institute, a proactive,  three-semester, educational and cultural program for African-American and Latino youth between the ages of seven and 14. They refer to it as a “school without walls” that focuses on developing an understanding and awareness of the African experience in America. Over a 27-month period, students are exposed to their rich and extraordinary ancient African history through eight weekend classes and four field trips. At the end of the program the students are awarded an all-expense paid sojourn to Africa where they examine the land of their ancestors and share their culture and lifestyle with African youth.

The curriculum of the African Genesis Institute is provided by renowned African studies specialist Dr. Edward Robinson and Atlanta educator and author. With the theme “It’s better to build a child than to repair an adult," the organization is the world's largest and fastest growing African-American youth organizations of its kind, boasting over 25,000 members.    

AfricanDiasporaTourism.com (ADT) is delighted to speak with the Salahuddins about the work that they are doing through their youth programs.

SheppardEric Anthony Sheppard is the President and CEO of Diversity Restoration Solutions, Inc. (DRS), an international trade development and cultural diversity training empowerment firm that he founded in 1991.  An author and family genealogy researcher, he discovered a slave narrative about a former slave named Moses Grandy, whom he believes is his ancestor.  In 1843, the British & Foreign Anti-Slavery Society of London, England published Narrative of the Life of Moses Grandy; Late a Slave in the United States of America.  Sheppard’s genealogy research is what led to his passion for reconnecting with his ancestral roots in Africa. He went on to develop his company's business concept of merging commerce and cultural relationships to enhance U.S. and Africa global trade relations.


With a Bachelors of Science degree in Technical Management from the University of Maryland, Sheppard is veteran of the U.S. Air Force who worked with the various Department of Defense (DoD) agencies for over 25 years. One of the highlights of his DoD career was working on the Advanced Technology Bomber (B-2 Stealth) Program during its developmental, test, evaluation and initial production phases. Through his company Diversity Restoration Solutions, Sheppard is currently working on a Wall of Return Project and Restoration Center that will be located in West Africa.


 

myers
We are not asking for a paid federal holiday, which will be a burden on tax-payers, but a National Day of Observance like Flag Day or Patriot Day. .. With only fourteen states remaining(to join in), we hope that President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress will finally establish a day for the observance and celebration of the end of slavery in America.

– Rev. Dr. Ronald V. Myers Sr.  
 


Rev. Dr. Ronald Myers, Sr. is a leader in the campaign to make Juneteenth a National Holiday in America. The founder and president of the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation and the National Juneteenth Christian Leadership Council, his efforts along with other similar organizations have resulted in the recognition of Juneteenth as a state holiday or state holiday observance in 36 states. He is also the founder of the National Day of Reconciliation and Healing from the Legacy of Slavery, observed on the third Friday in June.  As the chairman of the National Juneteenth Holiday Campaign, Dr. Myers is pushing to get legislation passed in the U.S. Congress to make Juneteenth Independence Day a National Day of Observance.

ChiefTundeandKittyChief Tunde Adetunji is an Africa Cultural Ambassador and the founder, president and CEO of the African Heritage Foundation, a world class organization in Atlanta that is committed to promoting the achievements of Africans and African-Americans. Chief Tunde, who acquired the title ‘Chief’ because of his dedicated service to the community, is also the convener of Africa Day in Atlanta, the first celebration and conference of its kind held in Atlanta. Chief Tunde has in his repertoire over 50,000 unique art pieces designed for the crowning and celebration of achievements exhibition to showcase in 110 cities and 57 countries for years to come. Chief Tunde’s versatility and expertise as an art historian, curator, anthropologist, journalist and lecturer has made him a foremost dignitary on Africa and the African Diaspora.