Barbara Oteng Gyasi, Ghana’s minister of tourism, has a message for the Black diaspora: come home.
Gyasi encouraged Black Americans to move to Ghana during a memorial service for George Floyd on June 5 in the Ghanaian capital of Accra.
“We continue to open our arms and invite all our brothers and sisters home. Ghana is your home. Africa is your home. We have our arms wide open ready to welcome you home,” Gyasi said.
“Please take advantage, come home, build a life in Ghana. You do not have to stay where you are not wanted forever, you have a choice and Africa is waiting for you,” she continued.
Gyasi also expressed hope that Floyd’s death brings about change and called for an end to systemic racism.
“We gather in solidarity with brothers and sisters to change the status quo. Racism must end. We pray and hope that George Floyd’s death will not be in vain but will bring an end to prejudice and racial discrimination across the world,” Gyasi said.
Floyd died on Memorial Day after former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for more than 8 minutes. Chauvin and three others were fired and charged for Floyd’s death. The incident became the catalyst for protests across the globe.
Ambassador Erieka Bennett, Head of Missions at the African Diaspora Forum, praised Ghana and Gyasi for setting an example for the rest of the diaspora.
“Ghana has taken the leadership role on honoring and doing this…and we want to thank the Minister for the wonderful message she gave,” Bennett said at the memorial. “The message is ‘We are one’ regardless of where you’re from, if you are a black person you are an African and that’s the message, we want people to understand.”
Ghana has been courting Black Americans for a while. Last year marked 400 years since the trans-Atlantic slave trade saw the importation of the first African captives to what would become the present-day United States. The West African nation acknowledged the anniversary with its “Year of Return” project, which included the Afrochella music festival. Ghana continued the initiative with “Beyond the Return,” which will last until 2030.