This should be a great event- ambassadors from all over West Africa will be here in little old Richmond, as well as a contingent from Liverpool.  There’s already been interesting things happening around town as a result of this statue project, especially yesterday’s conversation between TJ students and students in Liverpool (technical problems prevented students in Benin from joining).

A press release someone forwarded to me:

Hope in the Cities and the Richmond Slave Trail Commission invite you to join with representatives from West Africa, Virginia, & Liverpool for the unveiling of the Reconciliation Statue

Friday, March 30, 2007, 4:00pm

15th and Main Street

This event is open and free to the public

The unveiling of the Richmond Slavery Reconciliation Statue is the result of nearly 10 years of work between Richmond, Liverpool, and the Republic of Benin.

Three identical statues by Liverpool artist Stephen Broadbent symbolize a commitment to new relationships based on honesty and forgiveness.

Richmond’s journey towards racial healing began with its first “walk through history” in 1993, and the marking of the historic Slave Trail. In 1999, President Mathieu Kerekou of the Republic of Benin, convened an international gathering at which he apologized for Benin’s part in selling fellow Africans to slave traders. Also in 1999, Liverpool City Council apologized for that city’s prominent role in the trade. Last month, Virginia’s General Assembly expressed profound regret for the involuntary servitude of Africans and the exploitation of Native Americans, and called for reconciliation among all Virginians.

Official groups from Richmond, Liverpool and Benin have taken part in ceremonies at each corner of the triangle. Liverpool students helped design panels for the base of the sculpture and traveled to Benin. A city-wide contest engaged Richmond students in writing on the theme of reconciliation.

At the unveiling ceremony, you are invited to join in conversations about how this Triangle of Reconciliation might link schools and faith communities, and promote cultural exchange and economic development.