AMHERST – Cumberland County’s black community has come a long way in more than 225 years, but their journey is far from over.
That was the message coming out of the regional launch of African Heritage Month at Amherst town hall on Friday.
“It has been a long journey to get to where we are today, but that journey is far from over,” regional educator Crystal States said following the launch that was attended by municipal representatives and officials from the Cumberland African Nova Scotian Association. “As a community we have come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.”
A PowerPoint presentation looked back at the journey African Nova Scotians have made through time since first arriving as slaves in the mid-1700s and profiled prominent members of the African Nova Scotian community in Cumberland County.
“It’s important to celebrate African Heritage Month in Cumberland County because there’s such a rich heritage,” CANSA board member Theresa Halfkenny said. “We’ve passed that tradition along as we’ve grown up and it’s important that we continue to pass that along to future generations.”
Halfkenny said the celebration is important for all members of the community because it’s a piece of history and shows how everyone in Amherst and the county have come together to make this a special place to live.
“It’s one of the reasons why we did the interpretive panels a few years ago. We have three panels showing our history and we’re hoping to do more. It’s a history that needs to be shared,” she said. “It’s about knowing where we came from.”
Halfkenny joined Cumberland North MLA Brian Skabar in unveiling the African Heritage Month poster Then and Now: The Journey Continues.
“African Heritage Month will help us continue to educate people about the rich contribution African Nova Scotians have made to our community and our province,” Skabar said.