This brief letter is written in response to a letter to the editor by Elisabeth Kolind regarding the BIG Reparations Sit Down held December 15th-16th, 2006 at the University of the Virgin Islands on St. Croix.
The issue of reparations for slavery-related crimes against humanity arouses many, and varied emotions, responses, and concerns.
The community forum held this weekend at UVI was the first in a series of programs designed to begin a process of healing, truth, and reconciliation, and to examine the issue of collective repair. The events were free, and open to the entire community. Ms. Elisabeth Kolind was welcomed to attend. For whatever reason, she chose not to, but rather to comment remotely, comments that likely to be based on reports of others and filtered through another persons emotions, responses, biases, and concerns.
The BIG Reparations Sit Down was attended by the Honorable Donna M. Christensen Delegate to the U.S. Congress, the Honorable Usie Richards President of the 27th Legislature of the U.S. Virgin Islands, respectively, and an host of retired Virgin Islands statesmen, present-day educators, students, attorneys, and several other respectable members of our beloved Virgin Islands community many of whom take exception to her statement: it is even harder showing them any respect.
Just as African Virgin Islanders have inherited a legacy of human tragedy, Denmark has suffered widespread racism and has been negatively affected by a national mentality responsible for the systemic dehumanization and moral degradation of African Virgin Islanders. Consequently, this mindset has also impaired the humanity of Danish society for centuries and historically has resulted the brutal displacement of many generations of peoples, subjecting them to discriminatory and inhumane colonial policies such as outlined in the 1733 Gardelin Code of the Danish West Indies.
Without question, both peoples are today in need of repair and must now gather to fashion a new and collective humanity.
I invite Ms. Kolind to join in exploring this collective repair between Danes and Virgin Islanders, and to contribute constructive criticism to the ongoing initiatives, as opposed to lobbing stones from a distance.
Shelley A. Moorhead
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