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Raymond Sheppard: Letter to my brothers and sisters of African descent

Kjipuktuk (Halifax)

Sisters and Brothers of African descent, 

You are special for so many reasons, including the fact that your ancestors were the original people of this landmass we call earth.

Through many trials and tribulations, through much pain and suffering you are still here. You have survived against all odds because of your perseverance, determination, courage and indomitable spirit. You should hold your head up high for your accomplishments and that of your people. Canada would not be what it is if not for African People, make no mistake about it. Although you were and are stereotyped as being violent and not trustworthy, you are kind, considerate, understanding, compassionate, brave and worthy.

In the midst of a war against you and besieged by injustice, as African People you carry on with dignity and respect. You give others the benefit of the doubt, something others would not afford you.

You are mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandfathers, grandmothers, siblings and so many more relatives of the family. You are also a part of a strong historical African Nova Scotian community.

You realize that Black Lives Matter and Black Families Matter. 

After all you’ve been through and were forced to endure, you still maintain hope for a better tomorrow with positive and meaningful changes, and you contribute to this. You cling to the God of your understanding and believe in something bigger and more powerful/capable than thyself. 

During 2020, you witnessed an increase in the many assassinations of our people around the world from police brutality and senseless killings based on the introduction of drugs in our communities and the little bit of freedom we are afforded was and is curtailed and limited further by Covid-19. Yet Sisters and Brothers you carry on. 

Like many of our people before us, we continue to be baffled by those that use hate against us yet lay out in the sun to look like us, try to do their hair like us, dress like us and lately more and more want to be with us. Why?

Jealousy comes to mind first and that which was denied becomes an object of the obsessed, that and baseless stereotyping. 

Sisters and Brothers, you remain optimistic and fight the plan-demic of hate you continue to love and you remember that Love is an action word.

Sisters and Brothers, you continue to advocate for your God-given rights that were taken away and limited by others. You give of your time and sincerely make efforts to address issues with human rights, police brutality, mental health, environmental racism, gentrification and forced relocation, immigration, substance abuse, Afrocentric counselling, adoption disclosure, rent control and affordable housing, health, and the list goes on. 

As African People many of you stand up and speak truth to power, realizing that Black Voices Matter, but you are also willing to kneel down to help take the pressure off the necks of our people. 

Physically, you are also beautiful, your seven shades of brown is 99% smooth without creaks, your flared nose is unique and lips are so beautiful that many try to duplicate them with lip injections. 

Something else, Sisters and Brothers, you can and should be proud of. Most of the treatments and medications used today came from the rape of Africa, and were then developed in Britain and the United States. Wow!

When others say go back to Africa, they must be kidding. All of North America and Europe would collapse if Brothers and Sisters went back to Africa and took all the things that were developed by Africans over five hundred years and if they were able to include that which was stolen and manufactured elsewhere the world would be doomed. 

Sisters and Brothers, we should be proud that we have many young people that have and are accepting the torch to carry on. 

“African Peoples from around the globe might have different value systems depending on the rape and displacement of our peoples, yet we share a oneness. Sisters and Brothers we must deepen our commitment to our compassion, resilience, perseverance, determination, courage, indomitable spirit and or course our love and respect for one another.”  

Sisters and Brothers, in closing, we must never let others define us. We are beautiful and we are here.

Much Love!

Brother Raymond

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