Speakers had a message at the opening night of African Heritage Month: Nova Scotians must remember the stories of African Nova Scotians and their resilience.
“We can’t forget where things started and on whose shoulders we stand as we move this work forward,” said Tracey Jones-Grant, former diversity manager for Halifax Public Libraries and Halifax Regional School Board.
The celebration packed Paul O’Regan Hall at the Halifax Central Library with hundreds of community members Thursday night. It has been 40 years since Halifax Public Libraries and the Black History Month Association partnered to celebrate African Heritage Month.
“Through the years, we’ve done a variety of things. We’ve told our stories, we’ve been resilient. We have not stopped, we continue to go, we celebrate our elders, we celebrate our youth,” said Jones-Grant. “Forty years is resilience.”
Speakers touched on how the resilience and joy of African Nova Scotians have carried the community forward through pain and marginalization.
“Our smiles that reflect our resilience in the face of oppression. Our smiles that speak to the heart of who we are regardless of what others try to do to us,” said pastor Rhonda Britton.
Twila Grosse, minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs, submitted a video to share at the event. She said that the story of African Nova Scotians is an integral piece of the province’s fabric.
Grosse said she is committed to supporting and empowering both the guardians of African Nova Scotian heritage and the architects of the future of Nova Scotia.
“We are reminded of the remarkable journey of our 52 historic African Nova Scotian communities and the various journeys of people of African descent that now call Nova Scotia home,” said Grosse.
“These journeys are defined by resilience, wisdom and hope.”
Halifax Peninsula North councillor Lindell Smith spoke on behalf of Halifax Mayor Mike Savage.
“This year’s theme, our smiles, our joy, our resilience as African Nova Scotians, outlines the spirits, perseverance that people of African descent have demonstrated over the centuries in our province,” said Smith.
Events for this year’s African Heritage Month include an African Heritage gospel concert on Feb.17 and the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes memorial game, also on Feb. 17.
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Thomas is in his fourth year of journalism at the University of King's College. He loves sports and has reported on a variety of them for years....