featured Racism

Raymond Sheppard: All hands on deck to beat racists and racism

Photo Robert Devet

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – We as African Nova Scotians cannot afford the luxury of being spectators from the sidelines. If you believe that racism and injustice is being curtailed, you are absolutely wrong, and we must actively pressure and encourage others to dissemble racism by any means necessary. It is not enough just to speak the truth inside our homes or as a one-on-one with another African Nova Scotian. We must always keep our eyes on the prize of freedom. All hands must be on deck to bring about positive lasting change. 

Unfortunately, some African Nova Scotian individuals seem to feel that they have made it, having obtained a good paying job or a piece of white paper to gain some perceived degree of privilege. These people feel the struggle is no longer about them or that they do not want to rock the boat.

Well, in reality the struggle continues for all African people regardless of papers or positions. There are many ways that individuals of African descent can support the cause and help the community, all African Nova Scotians and all African people.

Ways to advance social justice in Nova Scotia and beyond

  • Support rallies, protests, demonstrations
  • Inform yourself about the issues 
  • Write letters, call politicians and others on issues
  • Use social media to show your discontent 
  • Support the Black Lives Matter movement 
  • Support advocates and Activists
  • Air your opinions on talk radio
  • Encourage others, Each One Reach One and Teach One
  • Volunteer to set up community meetings
  • Provide transportation to rallies and protests
  • Facilitate community meetings
  • Motivate and inspire others to become involved, etc.

On an individual basis or collectively our efforts are essential, our collaborations, cooperation and steadfastness can and will result in change. Action toward our true emancipation is crucial and critical. We must make sure that those who do not know that they don’t know understand the purpose of our actions.

Participatory engagement is paramount, where each one of us has something to offer to desired outcomes. Expertise in this area is lived experience; expertise grows with involvement and understanding.

No amount of fame and fortune can or will eliminate racism. 

We must remember, if our ancestors had given up, we would not be here. We stand on their shoulders, but who will be able to stand on our shoulders if we do not take a stand? We are supposed to leave this life a little better than whence we came.

If you do not speak up for others, when you need the help of others who will be there? Be the best African Nova Scotian you can be, not the worst of others. 

As a people we must support one another against the common enemy of racism and racists. When we share knowledge and support those going through the same injustice we are experiencing we help the situation along, – no matter how small the contribution may be, it will help.

Although, for almost five hundred years we have been climbing a mountain with a weight on our backs, we should not have to climb the mountain alone.

Unfortunately, too often we skip out of providing assistance and only come together around a loss or tragedy. We cannot and should not wait until tragedy raises its ugly racist head before we act.

See also: Martha Mutale: Learning to show up for myself

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