Statement by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield on the Inaugural International Day for People of African Descent

United States Mission to the United Nations
Office of Press and Public Diplomacy
For Immediate Release
August 31, 2021

Statement by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield on the Inaugural International Day for People of African Descent

Today, we join people around the world in commemorating the first International Day for People of African Descent. By creating this day, the United Nations aims to promote the contributions of the African diaspora while seeking to eliminate discrimination against people of African descent around the globe. This inaugural celebration falls mid-way through the International Decade for People of African Descent and marks an important milestone in recognition by the international community of the global challenge of combating discrimination in all its ugly forms.

In the United States, the Biden-Harris Administration has made advancing racial justice and equity a priority, including through our work at the United Nations. We have raised the dialogue on racism and acknowledged racial discrimination as an issue endemic to every society, one that we must work together to address. Advancing a world of equity and equality is implicit in the United Nations’ founding spirit and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and one that appeals to the higher aspirations of us all. Earlier this month, the United States proudly supported the adoption of the resolution to establish the Permanent Forum for People of African Descent, a body which will help promote fundamental freedoms and human rights for people of African descent and stand against all forms of racism, racial discrimination, and xenophobia.

Last week, we marked the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, and reflected on the horrific impact the slave trade had upon the world. The undeniable relationship between slavery and the systemic racism we continue to see today is a shameful legacy that lives on in the United States and around the world. It is one that calls upon us all to continue actively combating racism, celebrating the contributions of Black Americans, and working to fully realize the values of equality, liberty, and justice for all.

As we confront our history and lingering inequalities, we stand united with the international community in our determination to build a better and more equitable future based upon respect and appreciation for the unique contributions all peoples and cultures make to strengthen the world.