United Church of Christ

UN International Decade for People of African Descent 2015 - 2024


Group of fellows of the 2018 OHCHR Fellowship Programme for People of African Descent meet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet (centre) in Geneva, Switzerland. Photo: OHCHR/Geneva

There are around 200 million people identifying themselves as being of African descent live in the Americas. Many millions more live in other parts of the world, outside of the African continent.
Whether as descendants of the victims of the transatlantic slave trade or as more recent migrants, they constitute some of the poorest and most marginalized groups. Studies and findings by international and national bodies demonstrate that people of African descent still have limited access to quality education, health services, housing and social security.

In many cases, their situation remains largely invisible, and insufficient recognition and respect has been given to the efforts of people of African descent to seek redress for their present condition. They all too often experience discrimination in their access to justice, and face alarmingly high rates of police violence, together with racial profiling.

Furthermore, their degree of political participation is often low, both in voting and in occupying political positions. In addition, people of African descent can suffer from multiple, aggravated or intersecting forms of discrimination based on other related grounds, such as age, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, social origin, property, disability, birth, or other status.

The promotion and protection of human rights of people of African descent has been a priority concern for the United Nations. The Durban Declaration and Programme of Action acknowledged that people of African descent were victims of slavery, the slave trade and colonialism, and continue to be victims of their consequences.

The Durban process raised the visibility of people of African descent and contributed to a substantive advancement in the promotion and protection of their rights as a result of concrete actions taken by States, the United Nations, other international and regional bodies and civil society.

Still, despite these advances, racism and racial discrimination, both direct and indirect, de facto and de jure, continue to manifest themselves in inequality and disadvantage.

For more information visit Observance UN Decade for People of African Descent - 2015-2024

RESOURCES

UCC, United Church of Canada launch joint commitment to UN Decade for People of African Descent

Watch the video UN Decade for African Descent

The United Church of Christ and the United Church of Canada, coming together to celebrate the contributions of people of African descent worldwide, are launching a joint commitment to the United Nations resolution on the issue with an introductory video released during Black History Month. 

"I was pleased when I heard the United Nations had declared via resolution, the International Decade for People of African Descent - 2015-2024, during a 2013 general assembly," said Bentley de Bardelaben, executive associate minister, UCC Justice & Local Church Ministries. "Additionally, while meeting together to discuss joint mission ventures, I became further excited when some senior staff members within the national settings of the United Church of Christ and the United Church of Canada agreed to work in partnership to explore how we might encourage our member churches to partake in an in-depth study about the plight of peoples of the African Diaspora and their descendants."

Around 200 million people identifying themselves as being of African descent live in the Americas. Many millions more live in other parts of the world, outside of the African continent.

The U.N. identifies African descendant people as a group whose rights need to be "protected and promoted." As part of their full communion agreement, the two churches are working on strategies to address that through common resources and liturgies that advance social justice and inclusion policies, end racism and intolerance, and promote sustainable development.

"Our two churches have long been strong advocates for justice in bi-national contexts and found the framework of the Decade to be a time for amplifying the on-going challenges presented to African descendant people," said the Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson, the UCC's ecumenical officer. "The Decade provides a global platform for the United Church of Canada and the United Church of Christ to address the systemic issues that contribute to racial injustice, as we work toward a just world for all."

The International Decade for People of African Descent: A 2020 Prayer Cycle: Part 1 (February—April 2020)1


The International Decade for People of African Descent:
A 2020 Prayer Cycle:
Part 1 (February—April 2020)

Introduction to the Decade
The General Assembly of the United Nations has declared 2015–2024 to be the International Decade for People of African Descent. In proclaiming this Decade, the international community is recognizing “that people of African descent represent a distinct group whose human rights must be promoted and protected.”

As people of faith, we know every part of humanity is a reflection, an embodiment of the wisdom and power of God. Yet all of our collective humanity has been diminished and ruptured through the enslavement of African peoples and the colonization and exploitation of those same peoples’ land.

One of the ways the church is engaging with the Decade is by doing targeted work towards combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerances faced by people of African descent. We know that prayer has the power to transform and amplify or actions. We therefore invite people to pray during this midway point in the Decade for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of people of African descent.

For more information on how The United Church of Canada is engaging in this decade, visit the Anti- Racism webpage or watch the introductory video created in conjunction with our full communion partner the United Church of Christ (USA).

How to Use This Prayer Cycle

This Prayer Cycle will be released throughout 2020 in four parts; all parts will be made available for download in the worship section of the United Church website and on the Anti-Racism webpage.

Consider sharing your prayers on social media (use the hashtags #AfricanDescent, #UCCan, #UCC). A daily schedule of intercessions is suggested in this resource for Part 1.

  • February: Recognizing people of African descent

  • March: Lamenting human rights abuses faced by those of African descent

  • April: Naming injustices faced by those of African descent

© 2020 The United Church of Canada/L’Église Unie du Canada. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike Licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/ca. Any copy must include this notice.page2image3677920

The International Decade for People of African Descent: A 2020 Prayer Cycle: Part 1 (February—April 2020)2


 

February
For each day, add specific names of African-descendant people related to each intercession. If you are sharing prayers on social media, include the hashtags #AfricanDescent, #UCCan, #UCC.

We recognize that people of African descent have contributed to the development and advancement of society through culture, science, and the arts; these contributions are often hidden, undervalued, and underappreciated. And so we give thanks for and celebrate African descendants who have made an undeniable difference in the betterment of society. We give thanks for:

  1. Rap masters, as well as the early DJs and MCs that have spoken for generations

  2. Environmentalists who have been attentive to the cries of the earth1

  3. Athletes who have challenged our understanding of the human body

  4. Doctors who have crossed borders and provided life-saving aid

  5. Trendsetters and visionaries

  6. Reggae music and its cultural significance to Jamaica and the world2

  7. Rock ‘n’ roll icons who pioneered new styles and forms of music

  8. Classical musicians who work in predominately White spaces

  9. Folk artists who keep and celebrate customs and traditions

  10. The session musicians who provide the musical foundation for popular music

  11. Women and girls who are leading in STEM research3

  12. Visual artists who express what words cannot

13. Broadcasters and TV producers4

14. Religious leaders and moral teachers5

15. Inventors and innovators 6

16. Caregivers who nurture and support

17. Teachers and educators7

18. Political figures and world leaders who have advocated for positive change

19. Human rights advocates

20. Activists and movement leaders8

21. Linguists and teachers of heart languages 9

22. Peacebuilders and peacekeepers

23. Civil servants

24. Builders, contractors, and construction workers

25. Healers of the body, mind, and spirit.

26. Midwives, doulas, and all those who help to birth new life

27. Accountants, economists and financial advisors

28. Correctional officers who protect the dignity of people

29. Worship and spiritual leaders

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1Wetlands Day
2Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation Day 3Women and Girls in Science Day
4Radio Day
5Valentine’s Day

6Flag Day
7Family Day
8Social Justice Day
9Mother Language Day

 

© 2020 The United Church of Canada/L’Église Unie du Canada. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike Licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/ca. Any copy must include this notice.

The International Decade for People of African Descent: A 2020 Prayer Cycle: Part 1 (February—April 2020) 3


 

March
For each day, please name specific human rights violations related to each intercession. If you are sharing prayers on social media, include the hashtags #AfricanDescent, #UCCan, #UCC.

We recognize that the human rights of people of African descent need to be protected and promoted. We lament that the human rights of African descendant people have been abused by:

© 2020 The United Church of Canada/L’Église Unie du Canada. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike Licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/ca. Any copy must include this notice.

  1. Micro-aggressions and denial of anti- Black racism 10

  2. Teaching false histories of African- descendant people

  3. Hunters and poachers who destroy natural habitats111

  4. Juvenile arrests and over-sentencing

  5. Eliminating the right to vote and access to voting polls

  6. Food insecurity

  7. Stereotyping and name-calling

  8. Pay inequality for women of colour12

  9. Economic obstacles, forced poverty, and a lack of social security13

  10. Late detection and limited access to testing for STDs14

  11. Over-sexualizing and eroticizing of women of colour

  12. Racial profiling

  13. Prejudice and overt bias

  14. Over-suspension and the streamlining of youth into basic and applied educational programs

  15. Subtle and subversive discrimination

  16. Overt fear tactics

17. Violent behavior and anti-Black hate crimes

18. Denial of racism

19. The over-policing of Black bodies

20. Physical exploitation of Black bodies for entertainment

21. Denial of Intersectionality15

22. Unequal access to clean drinking water 16

23. Denial of systemic and institutional racism 17

24. Unequal access to health care and medication18

25. Dehumanizing and characterizing of Black people19

26. Death from preventable/manageable diseases

27. Harmful stereotyping

28. Environmental pollution

29. Eliminating the right to fair and just legal action

30. Separation of Black families

31. Black trans people who are often violently targeted

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10Zero Discrimination Day
11World Wildlife Day
12International Women’s Day
13 Commonwealth Day
14Women and Girls’ HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

15Down Syndrome Day and International Day for the Elimination of Racism
16Water Day
17Meteorological Day
18Tuberculosis Day
19Day for the Remembrance of Slavery Victims and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

 

© 2020 The United Church of Canada/L’Église Unie du Canada. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike Licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/ca. Any copy must include this notice.

The International Decade for People of African Descent: A 2020 Prayer Cycle: Part 1 (February—April 2020) 4


 

April
If you are sharing prayers on social media, include the hashtags #AfricanDescent, #UCCan, #UCC.

We are aware of the systemic injustices that people of African descent fight against, and so we pray for actions to be taken to ensure access to justice by/through:

  1. Eliminating racial profiling

  2. Punishing/denigrating anti-Black treatment 20

  3. Equality through equity

  4. Eliminating institutionalized stereotypes 21

  5. Access to justice for people who are victims of racism

  6. TAdvocacy for equal treatment of Black athletes 22

  7. Acknowledging the untold suffering resulting from genocides 23

  8. Ensuring access to competent tribunals against acts of racial discrimination

  9. Equitable pay for people of colour 24

  10. Ensuring the right to a fair trial and the assumption of innocence

  11. Legal action on the dissemination of ideas that support
    racial superiority or hatred

  12. Adequate reparation for damages suffered as a result of racism

  13. Legal action for acts of hate and terror against people of
    African descent

  14. Legal action against racist propaganda and racist activities

  15. Educating people of African descent about their legal rights

  16. Education on anti-Black racism and its many manifestations

  17. Preventing and punishing all human rights violations

18. Acknowledging the untold suffering resulting from slavery

19. Applying sanctions against officials who act on the basis of racial profiling

20. Acknowledging the impact of generational trauma 25

21. Honouring the creative work and intellectual property of people of African descent

22. Ensuring access to clean and safe water 26

23. Honouring the memory of enslaved artists whose creative work was stolen27

24. Honouring the skills of enslaved laborers

25. Honouring parents forced to leave their families

26. Honouring intellectual property of enslaved people

27. Acknowledging the untold suffering resulted from Apartheid

28. Acknowledging untold deaths from inhuman working conditions28

29. Honouring the rich legacy of art and culture from the African Diaspora29

30. Honouring the influence of African descendants on popular art and music30

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20Autism Awareness Day
21Mine Awareness Day
22Sport for development and peace Day
23World Health/Remembrance of the Victims of the Rwanda Genocide
24Equal Pay Day

25Chinese Language Day
26Earth Day
27English Language Day/Book and Copyright
28Health and Safety Day
29 Dance Day
30 Jazz Day

 

© 2020 The United Church of Canada/L’Église Unie du Canada. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike Licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/ca. Any copy must include this notice.

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