My Sankofa Experiences, Part 3

Sankofa Symbol


My Sankofa experiences were invaluable to me, for they guided me toward more self-acceptance during my Kenya East Africa visit, and helped me obtain new information that counteracted past inaccurate history relating to the year 1619 and the creation of slavery. A visit to Ghana West Africa allowed me to see the slave castles/dungeons that captured and warehoused Africans that were transported to the United States and other countries for free slave labor. This third and final Sankofa blog connects my Sankofa experiences to the lessons learned.

Takeaways /Lessons Learned:

    • Recognize, acknowledge, and reflect on the truth of what actually happened to African Americans during the capture. Discuss what The Middle Passage Journey was, the brutal, barbaric enslavement of months of ship travel for Africans and Americans to the other parts of the world. Seek out articles and books to gather information. Continue to attend programs that focus on slavery and the effects of this institution and how pieces of it may still exist in modern-day society. Be able to identify it when you see it.
    • Research to find as much as possible about one’s past. Feel comfortable in your own skin and remember to be proud of being a legacy of survivors. Talk to the oldest member of your family and ask them to share their experiences living in this country along with approaches they used to overcome adversity. Record those moments orally, in written form, or digitally. Equip yourself with the approaches that were shared for current or future challenges and generations.
    • Honor the sacrifices made by our ancestors makes us appreciate that they looked to the future that some never experienced. Have a ceremony to call the ancestors’ names out loud to honor them. Talk about them to both older and younger family members along with other people. It is important to remember them.
    • Experience job and opportunity creation. I experienced Africans creating jobs that would support their selves and other family members. Be proactive about investing in property and other commodities. Continue to “dream” about future endeavors similar to my Kenyan and Ghanaian roots that stressed the importance of having an “entrepreneurial spirit”. As a friend provided a placard that states “We are our ancestors’ wildest dreams”. Believe the impossible is possible! Provide someone else with a helping hand through mentorship or other means of support.
    • When one knows about their self they will feel more comfortable with other diverse groups and recognize there are more similarities than differences. Visiting my ancestral roots helped me to understand some of the cultural symbols or things I do are connected to my African Roots. It helps to feel good in my skin! The Sankofa experiences helped me to remember, reflect, move forward, and get to know myself!

~Rochelle Pleasant M.A.E.D.

Rochelle is an early childhood educator. She has been a teacher, mentor, and coach, and provided training to many early childhood educators nationally and in the Republic of Azerbaijan, and Kenya West Africa. She has offered a variety of workshops, particularly, focusing on culture and diversity, with a previous role that helped to create a diversity task force team with a former organization. You can find the first two posts from the series here.