UNESCO has adopted January 24th as World Day for African and Afrodescendant Culture, a celebration of the vast and vibrant array of cultures represented within the African continent and African diasporas globally. The aim of this day is to "promote the widest possible ratification and implementation of this Charter by African States, thereby strengthening the role of culture in promoting peace on the continent." It invites us to explore the diverse traditions, languages, and artistic expressions originating from the African continent, as well as their ever-evolving manifestations on the global scale.
Afrodescendant heritage, of course, exists and thrives well beyond the borders of the African continent and UNESCO has highlighted a considerable number of digital educational materials regarding this very subject, rejoicing in the many diverse expressions of art and culture. Several of these resources include:
Given that ParriagGroup is based in Ottawa, we naturally look at this day through a Canadian lens. We are in awe of the generous contributions that African, Afrodescendant and Black communities have made in shaping the culture that we benefit from daily. The very fabric of our society is informed and shaped by the distinct political, economic, scientific, and artistic influences of these communities. Fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion is a passion of ours; this day reminds us to not only ensure all voices are heard, but to celebrate and amplify the narratives and triumphs of those whose efforts have often been left unsung.
We would be remiss to not mention that, while this day is celebratory, much remains to be done to address and combat anti-Black racism and discrimination. Out team invites folks to be receptive to dialogue and to prioritize tangible efforts on both the organizational and individual levels to foster cultural diversity. One way that we are moving forward at ParriagGroup is through the 50 – 30 Challenge. This initiative encourages organizations to adopt practices to improve equity. For us, this looks like making space for education, nurturing mentorship opportunities, and fostering a safe workplace culture.
At ParriagGroup, we truly believe that diversity is one of the greatest strengths humanity has. We are always excited by the opportunity to celebrate the multiplicity of lived experiences that exist within and beyond the borders we call home. Everyone has something wonderful and unique to contribute; we will always champion diversity over homogeneity. We reflect on the strides that have been made while embracing the road that lies ahead to foster true and enduring inclusivity. We recognize that the "work" is never truly over and that we all collectively benefit from this.
Today's celebration underscores the inseparable nexus between cultural diversity and harmony. By embracing the rich array of African and Afrodescendant cultures and traditions, we acknowledge that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to equity and inclusion. It emphasizes that our differences are an invaluable asset, something to be embraced wholeheartedly, not glossed over. All of us here at ParriagGroup wish you a very joyous World Day for African and Afrodescendant Culture.