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Raymond Sheppard: Our way back home – Reclaiming our heritage, culture and lineage

Group of women (and one man) dressed for choir practice at Emmanuel Baptist Church, Upper Hammonds Plains. NS Archives.

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Sisters and brothers of African descent, your struggle has been long and difficult and some of you have are no longer active participants in this struggle. To you I say, it is time to come Black Home.

The need to be forever vigilant is greater now that our people and our rights are under attack around the world. With this in mind, I am calling on each and every brother and sister of African descent to come Black Home, to actively join the home team in the necessary fight against racism, hate, inequality and injustice.

As an old African proverb states “when Spiders’ webs unite, they can tie up a lion.” And in the words of Marcus Garvey, “We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind. Mind is your only ruler, sovereign. The man who is not able to develop and use his mind is bound to be the slave of the other man who uses his mind, because man is related to man under all circumstances, for good or ill.”

The African Nova Scotian community needs all hands on deck to be active for a better tomorrow for our children, our children’s children and for the survival of our community. 

If it were not for the sincere efforts of our parents, grandparents  and our great great grandparents we would not be here after the 250 years of slavery and 100 years of anti-Black racism our people endured. They laid the ground we now walk over. To turn our backs on their determination, selflessness, pain, suffering, tears and indomitable spirit would suggest that we do not value or respect their contributions and legacy. Then their pain and suffering would all be for naught.

We must continue to embrace our heritage, culture and lineage and appreciate who we are as a people. Embrace is from the French verb embrasser, which started out meaning “to clasp in the arms.” The door is always open, so come home and join hands with the African Nova Scotian community. If you are of African descent from anywhere on earth, welcome to the African Nova Scotian community.

You can do three things to let the community know you are available and willing to help out in the struggle.

1. Attend community meetings or speak out on social media.

2. If you have a gift, skill or ability that you are willing to share to make a difference, do so.

3. Your opinion and input matters, so speak up and give back to the community.

And for those individuals that have given years of commitment and dedication to the African Nova Scotia community, I applaud you and want to say well done! I do not have to encourage you to Keep On Keepin On because that’s exactly what you will do. Your track record speaks for itself. May the Creator continue to bless you for your sincere efforts to bring positive change to our people and the greater community.”

We all have something to offer to help in the struggle to make Nova Scotia and Canada a better place for all people.

We must never think that we are powerless and cannot make a difference. We must come “Black Home” and do everything in our power to secure our God-given rights, our human rights, and our civil rights.

Raymond Sheppard, in the struggle for life

With a special thanks to our generous donors who make publication of the Nova Scotia Advocate possible.

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