While tensions continue in the United States due to the ongoing problem of police brutality and racism, Ghana is reaching out to Black Americans. According to Newsweek, the tourism minister of Ghana recently encouraged Black Americans to "leave where you are not wanted."
Barbara Oteng Gyasi extended the invite during a ceremony in Ghana honoring George Floyd, one of several Black Americans who have been killed by police in recent months.
"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 during the ceremony.
To mark the 400th anniversary of Africans being taken to America and to celebrate the resilience of Black people, Ghana launched a special initiative last year, according to NBC News. The "Year of Return" initiative organized fun events and encouraged the Black communities around the world to visit, see and understand Africa.
"When we start with the fun, they see that traveling to Africa is not that bad," Jewel Thompson, an Atlanta native living in Ghana, told NBC News. "It's not all safaris and beaches. There's more than just what you think you understand about the continent, and especially about Ghana."
Speaking at the ceremony for Floyd, Gyasi said people living in societies filled with racial tension don't have to stay there.
"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," the tourism minister said.
Ghana has also vowed to stand with Americans as they demand justice for victims of police brutality.
"We gather in solidarity with brothers and sisters to change the status quo. Racism must end," Gyasi said. "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."
Ghana announced its plan to honor Floyd last week, as Blavity previously reported. Officials said Floyd's name and photo will be added to the wall of the memorial at the W.E.B. DuBois Center in Accra, Ghana.
"Black people, the world over, are shocked and distraught by the killing of an unarmed Black man, George Floyd, by a white police officer in the United States of America. It carried with it an all too painful familiarity and an ugly reminder," Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo tweeted.
— Nana Akufo-Addo (@NAkufoAddo) June 1, 2020
According to Newsweek, Ghana's economy saw a boost last year as people took part in the "Year of Return" initiative, visiting the country and participating in cultural events such as the music festival AfroChella. Now, there is another initiative called "Beyond the Return," encouraging Black Americans to invest in the motherland.
"We feel that given the wealth that African Americans and Black Americans have, given that spending power, travel budgets of Blacks in America, we felt that it's about time that we start that conversation that, instead of moving to any other destination, come back to where you came from," Akwasi Agyeman, CEO of Ghana's Tourism Authority, told NBC News. "We also felt that the history was not being taught."
NFL veteran Malcolm Jenkins has already committed to investing in his roots and buying land in Ghana.
"We come from a lineage of people that we've been disconnected from, and I think it's really important that we start to take that journey as individuals," Jenkins said. "I think it's the right time for African Americans as they make that journey back to the homeland to actually lay roots and play a part in the process of really building a strong and unified Africa."