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North Preston rallies for a better apology from Stephen McNeil 

“Talk is cheap and apologies are even less cheap,” says Edward Carvery.

click to enlarge Eddie Carvery was in North Preston this weekend calling on premier Stephen McNeil to do better by African Nova Scotians than a performative apology. - SEYITAN MORITIWON
  • Eddie Carvery was in North Preston this weekend calling on premier Stephen McNeil to do better by African Nova Scotians than a performative apology.
  • Seyitan Moritiwon
Over 50 people gathered over the course of the afternoon for a rally in North Preston on October 3 to demand a better apology for systemic racism from Premier Stephen McNeil because the apology he rendered on September 29 to the African Nova Scotian and Indigenous communities does not cut it.

Evangeline Downey, one of the organizers of the event, says McNeil’s apology should have included reparations and generational wealth for the Black community. “Last time I checked, the only people who were enslaved were people of African descent and that would be us.”

McNeil's apology came under fire from African Nova Scotians who said the gesture came up short, the lack of input from community members on the apology becoming a symbol the lack of actual work towards addressing racism in Nova Scotia's past.

Edward Carvery, a community activist from Africville, was present at the protest. He says for him, that was where racism began and he’s been protesting against it since the 1960s. “We want change now. We want to be equal,” he told The Coast.

Carvery says if the government is serious about the apology, it has to reach out to the Africville community and talk about the genocide that still hurts the Black community. “Talk is cheap and apologies are even less cheap. And if you’re not sincere, don’t say it.”

His son Edward Carvery Jr. became emotional addressing the audience, saying all the levels of the government need call for a town hall meeting inviting the residents of Africville with a cheque “that shows that we really do care as a society for the people and the land that was taken, taken from future generations like me and my children and my grandchildren.”

Earlier this year, the premier made remarks about members of the Enfield, East Preston and North Preston communities partying and increasing the number of COVID-19 cases in the province. It’s something they still remember.

“How about an apology for calling the Black communities out during the pandemic. That was your doing, and you still haven’t apologized to me,” said Cece Simmonds at the event.

The interim CEO of Nova Scotia Black Wall Street Steven Benton also addressed the crowd. He talked about plans the organization has for the Black community. “There’s nothing like having your own,” Benton says listing banks, hospitals, clinics and grocery stores as some of the things the community will own.

“We’re coming. Stephen McNeil, you’re going to give us a better apology,” he says. “You’re going to come up to North Preston and you’re going to respect this community.”

Downey agrees and wants everybody to know that "North Preston is the shit!” But adds that for this to work, there needs to be unity amongst Black people. “Right now, we need to come together as one community, not everybody competing against each other.”


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