Mayor David Kogon is encouraging everyone to take the time on Aug. 1, 2022, to learn about the significance of Emancipation Day.
“The first of August marks the 188th anniversary of the day the Slavery Abolition Act became law throughout the British Empire,” the mayor said as he signed a statement on behalf of the Amherst town council on July 29, 2022.
“The act ended the practice of slavery for millions of African people and their descendants.”
Noting the Canadian and Nova Scotia governments have designated Aug. 1 as Emancipation Day, Kogon said “observing the day will allow Canadians, Nova Scotians and Amherstonians the opportunity to acknowledge and have discussions about our shared history of the enslavement of people of African ancestry here in Canada.
“I would encourage everyone to learn about and recognized that shared history as we work together with all people toward collective healing and a more socially just society.”
The Town of Amherst is actively working towards that just society, the mayor said. As an example, he pointed to town council’s decision to create an Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Committee.
He noted the committee has three goals:
“Council’s vision is for Amherst to be a healthy, prosperous, inclusive and sustainable community in which people of all ages, abilities and cultures are engaged and proud to live work and play in,” Kogon said. “The town values inclusivity, diversity and equity in all areas. We value the contribution each citizen brings and the town is committed to ensuring full and equitable participation for all in our community.”
To mark Emancipation Day, African Nova Scotian Affairs, the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia, the Town of Amherst, the Municipality of Cumberland the Cumberland African Nova Scotia Association are hosting an Emancipation Day event in Dickey Park on Aug. 1, beginning at 9 a.m.
The event includes an Emancipation Race, an official opening, a land acknowledgment, the playing of the Black National Anthem, presentations on Emancipation Day and several activities from games and face painting to youth races. There will also be a free barbecue and the opportunity to listen to some blues, soul and jazz.
“I would encourage everyone who can to participate in this event,” Kogon said. “It is a perfect opportunity to learn about our shared history while participating in a fun, inclusive event.”
Kogon also encouraged people to learn about the United Nations International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, which is held annually on Aug. 23. More details on this day can be found at: https://www.un.org/en/observances/decade-people-african-descent/slave-trade
More information on Emancipation Day can be found at http://emancipationdayns.ca/