On 22 June, St Mary's Rotterdam held a press event to share the story of the Rotterdam Ladies Antislavery Committee and their work towards the abolition of slavery, as well as St Mary's commitment to continued racial justice and reconciliation.

Jenni Pridmore, chaplain at St Mary's, tells the story here:

Some time in St Mary's past there had been a group of abolitionists, and more recently we heard from people of Suriname descent in our neighbourhood that they had been raised with the knowledge that St Mary's helped get their freedom. We then began a journey of investigation and relationship-building. On the investigation side we learned that indeed a group of women from St Mary's, after being inspired by a visit from Elizabeth Fry, the British Philanthropist, wrote a letter to King Willem II in 1842 advocating for the immediate end to slavery in Suriname. After some searching, our Warden Willem Gebuis was able to track down the letter in the official archives in Den Haag.

The copy of the letter is here and a rough translation is here.

Copy of the letter from the Deanery of the Netherlands to PM Rutte.

On the relationship-building side, St Mary's has been intentionally working with local people in both the Suriname and Caribbean communities, including our own parishioners, to learn and understand more about the colonial history of slavery in the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the continued effects on the descendants of these formerly enslaved peoples. The educational group SurinameOso has been extremely instrumental in this effort, as have Otis Wilson (St Mary's Chaplaincy Council Member for Racial Justice and Reconciliation) and Sandra Sue (member at Holy Trinity, Utrecht and Secretary for the NWE Archdeaconry Standing Committee).
Through all of this the Council of St Mary's came to understand how important the official marking of Ketikoti (the anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the Kingdom of the NL) is. The Council therefore unanimously voted to take this issue to the ACNL Deanery meeting at the Archdeaconry Synod this last October, requesting that the Deanery consider sending a letter to Prime Minister Rutte calling for establishing Ketikoti as a National Day of Remembrance. The Deanery unanimously supported this initiative and I am pleased to say that the letter, after careful consultation, has been sent.