This year, a son of Africa was sworn in as President of the United States. For many, it marked a milestone on an epic journey that began more than 400 years ago. Throughout the Americas and the Caribbean, the descendants of history’s greatest forced migration have fought long and hard for justice, assimilation and respect. That fight continues today.

The International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade honours the millions of Africans violently removed from their homelands and cast into slavery. Estimates vary of how many millions of men and women were transported. What is not in dispute is the legacy of this vile traffic. Africa has yet to recover from the ravages of the slave trade or the subsequent era of colonization. And here in the New World and in Europe and elsewhere, people of African descent still struggle daily against entrenched prejudice that keeps them disproportionately in poverty.

Despite the official abolition of slavery, racism still pollutes our world. So, too, do contemporary forms of slavery. These include bonded servitude, forced prostitution and the use of children in warfare and the international drug trade. It is essential that we speak out loud and clear against such abuses. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. Failure to observe this fundamental principal leads directly to the inhumanity of slavery and the horror of genocide.
尽管奴隶制已经正式废除,但种族主义仍沾污着我们的世界。而且,当代形式的奴隶制,包括债役奴役,强迫卖淫,利用儿童从事战争和国际毒品贸易,也在沾污着我们的世界。我们必须站出来大声疾呼,反对这种恶行。《世界人权宣言》指出: “人皆生而自由;在尊严和权利上均各平等。” 不遵守这一基本原则,就直接导致惨无人道的奴役和恐怖的种族灭绝。

Speaking out is the theme of this year’s observance. It asks us to “Break the Silence, Beat the Drum”. Since the dawn of humanity in Africa, drums have provided the pulse of our history. They continue to help us celebrate our common humanity. Today I will beat the drum. I urge everyone, everywhere, to beat the drum. We must proclaim that black or white, man or woman, we are one people. We can achieve harmony only if we respect each other, rejoice in our diversity, and work together for our common goals.
大声疾呼是今年纪念活动的主题。它要求我们“打破沉默,击鼓呐喊” 。自人类在非洲起步以来,鼓就成了我们历史的脉搏,至今仍在协助我们欢庆共同的人类。今天,我敦促每个地方的每个人,击鼓宣布,无论黑人或白人,男人还是女人,我们都是一体。音乐家演奏时,既要自己表演,也要相互关照。我们必须紧随其后。只有我们互相尊重,欢庆我们的多姿多彩,为共同的目标而携起手来,才能够实现大同。