This week I attended the Maafa Sunday service at Amistad United Church of Christ. Amistad is a Black church in Hartford led by Bishop John Selders. (John and I have begun creating a new two-person play that explores race relations, father/son relationships, the Arab/Israeli conflict and the story of Abraham)

Maafa, derived from Kiswahili word meaning “disaster, terrible occurrence or great tragedy.” has been used to refer to the African Holocaust also known as the Holocaust of Enslavement. According to Wikipedia

The term collectively refers to the 500 years of suffering (including present times) of people of African heritage through slavery, imperialism, colonialism, invasions, oppression, and exploitation.

The Amistad Church commemorates Maafa every year because, as Bishop Selder’s reminded the congregation on Sunday, To forget is the same as to throw away. In speaking about the 50-100 million people stolen from Africa, he encouraged the congregation commune with ancestors, the great cloud of witnesses surrounding us.

He stated we can free our hearts and spirits as we check in with the trauma of the psychotic disconnect of an unvisited past. As we confront the ghosts and demons of our pasts, we find healing. When we return to our Past, we heal ourselves.

(photos from artwork at the Center for Independent Artists in Minneapolis, MN)
Also, check out history about the slave ship, La Amistad.

This post has 2 Comments

  1. Clint on March 15, 2007 at 6:27 pm

    The C4IA is a cool organisation. I was going to perform last year, but became seriously ill. I’m hoping to again this year.

    BTW I watched “Fish Can’t Fly” on my computer today. It was the only thing I could think of to keep me in bed to convolesce (My computer is near my bed.) Very good stuff. I really related to one of the guys, forget his name, who said that he had this big social delay he’s having to catch up on because of his experience.

  2. Peterson Toscano on March 17, 2007 at 4:29 am

    clint, yeah, I liked the space a lot. It also has a nice big parking lot for lots of audience members 🙂

    Glad you got to see FCF. I just got Tom Murry’s latest film about trans women (mtf).

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