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25 March 2015 - 'THEY ARE WE' Film Screening

Anti-Slavery Australia and UNIC Canberra present a screening of 'THEY ARE WE' for the International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade 2015

Date: Wednesday 25 March 2015

Time: 5.30pm - 8.00pm (film screening 6.00pm - 7.30pm)

Venue: Moot Court, Faculty of Law, University of Technology, Sydney

Every year on 25 March, the International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade offers the opportunity to honour and remember those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system which affected over 15 million men, women and children.

This year's theme, Women and Slavery pays tribute to the many enslaved women who endured unbearable hardships, including sexual exploitation, as well as those who fought for freedom from slavery and advocated for its abolition. It also celebrates the strength of enslaved women, many of whom succeeded in transmitting their African culture to their descendants despite the many abuses that they had to endure.

For International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade 2015, the United Nations has chosen as their official film They Are We, directed and produced by Anti-Slavery Australia's Dr Emma Christopher.

In commemoration of this important day, Anti-Slavery Australia, UTS and UNIC Canberra will host a screening of this award-winning film.

THEY ARE WE is the story of a remarkable and joyous reunion, 170 or so years after a family was driven apart by the transatlantic slave trade. It is the story of Josefa Diago, who was stolen from what is today Sierra Leone and shipped to Cuba around the 1830s. Although the life expectancy for enslaved people there was only seven years, she managed to survive into very old age and taught the songs and dances of her African family's initiation rites to her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Today her descendants, now numbering in their hundreds, are called the Gang-Longob, Incredibly, they have kept their unique heritage alive. Through decades of brutal enslavement, independence wars, and then the denying of all religions after the Cuban revolution, they have retained the collection of distinct songs and dances inherited from Josefa.

After a chance discovery while working in West Africa, director Emma Christopher spent two years showing a film of the Gang-Longob songs and dances to several thousand people across Sierra Leone. Eventually, in an isolated village with no road access, one man looked at another in joy and wonder as he watched a recording of the Gang-Longob songs and said, THEY ARE WE!Then the villagers joined in with others of the Gang-Longob songs, still recognizing them clearly despite all the years of separation.

THEY ARE WE tells the story of Josefa's survival against the odds and how determination and shared humanity can triumph over the bleakest of histories. It is the story of how Josefa Diago came to be remembered as one of the ten Powerful Women of Slavery by the United Nations.

You can watch the film trailer here:



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