Senator Ellis Press Release

For Immediate Release
April 2, 2010
Contact: Tina Tran, (512) 463-0113

Sen. Ellis Participates In Senegal's Celebration of 50 Years Of Independence
Heads of state and key representatives of the African Diaspora to join three-day celebration of the future of Africa

(Dakar, Senegal) — With performances, symposia, special exhibitions, parades and the dedication of the African Renaissance Monument, tens of thousands of spectators will gather in the capital city of Dakar on April 2 - 4 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Senegal's founding as an independent republic.

Representatives of the NAACP, Rainbow PUSH Coalition, the Constituency for Africa and African American Unity Caucus, Africare and many other U.S. organizations will be among many heads of state, artists, intellectuals and activists in attendance. Sen. Rodney Ellis will be among a prominent group of Americans including Rev. Jesse Jackson, Benjamin Todd Jealous, Roslyn Brock, Dr. Julius W. Garvey, Dr. Maulana Karenga, Dr. Lonnie Bunch, Melvin Foote, Rev. Herbert Daughtry, Randy Weston, Richard Gant, Sen. Anthony C. Hill, Constance Newman, and Debra Fraser-Howse.

The events will focus on the future of Africa and place particular emphasis on how all African states can work together to foster and support the economic, cultural, social and political well-being of the entire continent. At the heart of this vision are the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs offer a platform for progress in ending poverty and hunger, reaching universal education and gender equality, improving child and maternal health, ensuring environmental sustainability, and creating a global partnership for development – all by 2015. The celebration of history, arts and culture are at the top of the agenda, and the MDGs, including the priority of drastically reducing the impact of HIV/AIDS, will help define the challenges of fulfilling this inspiring vision of the destiny of Africa.

The commemoration will begin for the American delegation on April 2nd with a visit to Gorée Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its historic link to the slave trade. On Saturday, April 3rd a colloquium of African writers and intellectuals will examine and debate the enormous promise of the African Renaissance. Sunday, April 4th will be devoted to commemorations of Senegal's 50th year of independence, which will be highlighted by the appearance of heads of state, prime ministers and guests from around the world attending parades, cultural events, and festive public ceremonies.

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