Mayor's Message - Black Lives Matter
Message from Mayor Ryan:
Re: Black Lives Matter/Town of Pictou
On Saturday, June 6th I had the opportunity to listen to former Town of Pictou resident and Pictou Academy Graduate, Rachelle Gaudet, speak at a Black Lives Matter rally in Truro. It was both emotional and inspiring to hear her speak of the appalling experiences of racism endured in her youth and how she has turned her ‘pain’ into action for ‘change’. Thank you Rachelle for your courage to speak up! We, as individuals and community, have some soul searching to do as the world examines how we treat each other.
In her address to the crowd, Rachelle referenced the existence of a By-Law in the Town where she spent her formative years, that requiring ‘people of colour’ to be in their homes by dusk each evening. I can’t begin to imagine the emotions of a young person who is feeling discrimination and fear because of the colour of their skin. Shortly after being elected as Mayor of the Town of Pictou in 2016, I asked staff to look into the potential of there being such a By-Law, as I too had heard of its possible existence.
To the best of my knowledge, based on an exhaustive search of Town documents and conversations with former elected officials, there is no record of any By-Law requiring African Nova Scotians, or any resident of colour, to be home before dark. Having said that, the non-record of such a By-Law does not free us from our responsibility to reflect on the presence of racist attitudes, past and present, in our beautiful community. Acknowledging that there have been ‘unofficial’ racist actions taken by those in positions of authority at certain times in our history, I apologize on behalf of the Town of Pictou for the pain inflicted. We must do better!!
It is up to each of us to recognize our weaknesses of the past and move forward with conviction in welcoming all to our community. We must be examples for our youth by treating each other with the equality and respect all humans deserve.
Diversity is our strength!