African Heritage Month 2008

first_imgA month filled with fun, informative and thought-provoking activities and events was launched today, Jan. 31, when February was proclaimed African Heritage Month at Province House. “African Heritage Month is an opportunity to reflect upon the valuable contributions African Nova Scotians have made to the rich social and cultural identity of our province,” said Barry Barnet, Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs, who made the proclamation in the Red Chamber. “It is also a chance to look toward a future of strong participation by African Nova Scotians in all facets of the economic, social, legal and political life of the province.” The African Heritage Month Information Network has been established this year to help form partnerships to enhance celebrations and ensure a provincewide calendar of events and activities are held and highlighted. The Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs mobilized various community organizations from across the province to create the network. “An event could be to host a gala dinner or dance or something smaller like a film screening or book reading,” said Wayn Hamilton, African Nova Scotian Affairs CEO. “For example, a few groups in one community could work together to plan a larger community event, which would truly be in the spirit of Imani – Faith in our community, Faith in each other.” The theme of African Heritage Month 2008 is Imani, which means Faith in Swahili and the historical figure being highlighted is Marcus Garvey, who promoted the ideals of pride, freedom, self-reliance and education. In 1917, Garvey founded what is commonly known as the Universal Negro Improvement Association. He believed people of African descent would be respected only when they were economically strong and a broad education was a good start to realizing this goal. In an effort to unify people, he established more than 1,100 branches of the Universal Negro Improvement Association in more than 40 countries, including halls in Glace Bay, Sydney, and New Waterford. Garvey visited the Glace Bay U.N.I.A. in 1928. Today, it is the only one in Canada. Darlene Strong, a local African Nova Scotian artist from Cumberland County, drew the sketch of Garvey for the poster that will be unveiled at the opening reception. Copies will be distributed to various government and community organizations during the first week in February. There are several ways to access African Heritage Month information. At the African Nova Scotian Affairs website, www.gov.ns.ca/ansa , a page is dedicated to African Heritage Month with background information, a biography of Marcus Garvey and artist Darlene Strong, links to other sites featuring African Heritage Month, and information on events and activities. The calendar of events can be accessed from the homepage of the ANSA website and will be updated as new and/or revised information is received. The events line, new this year, is 902-424-3482. Events scheduled for the following day, including changes or cancellations, will be recorded daily. The line will be operational on Jan. 31. Black History Month was founded in 1926 by Harvard educated black historian, Carter G. Woodson. It started as a week in February to celebrate the history, contributions and culture of African Americans. In 1976, the week was expanded to a month. In Nova Scotia, the celebration of Black History Month was initiated in the early 1980s through the efforts of the Black History Month Association. It is now known as African Heritage Month and has been celebrated in Nova Scotia for 24 years. The African Heritage Month Information Network includes: African Nova Scotian Affairs, African Nova Scotian Music Association, Black History Month Association, Cumberland African Nova Scotian Association, Hankard Street Community Hall, Menelik Hall Association, United Negro Improvement Association and Valley African Nova Scotian Development Association.last_img

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