KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – After a racist incident last week, residents of Amherst are organizing a Rally for Diversity in the town. The event is scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday August 16, at noon.
“The focus of the rally is to make people more aware of our diverse community,” says Holly Martin, one of the organizers of the rally. “We have people of all racial backgrounds in Amherst. There are members of the LGBTQ community, there are immigrants, people who live with disabilities or mental health issues.”
“People need to learn about living in a diverse community. We are trying to foster a more accepting community. Everyone should feel comfortable living in Amherst. Amherst does’t belong to one culture,” says Martin.
Last week the press reported that George Baker, and Amherst councillor, admitted using the ‘N’-word during a heated interchange at a local restaurant. Local council claims it is unable to censure Baker.
Baker barely apologized, and is continuing his run for mayor.
“That was a wake up call, that racism is still there and thriving,” Martin says.
Mayor Rob Small will start off the rally. Among the speakers are Jason MacLean, president of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union (NSGEU) and Manson Gloade, representing the Aboriginal community. Raymond Tynes, who is running for mayor in Truro, and Jerry Hallie, mayoral candidate in Amherst will also speak. And there are others.
Sheila Upshaw, another rally organizer, is expecting a large turnout tomorrow.
“Many individuals, businesses and organizations are coming to the rally and giving us their full support,” says Upshaw, . “They’re truly behind us.”