here's leslie's email:
Thank you for copying me on your recent letter to Mayor Kelly, calling on HRM to take action on its long overdue commitment to the funding to construct the church and interpretive centre on the Africville site.
I believe the article in today’s Herald (copied below) in which the Mayor confirms the municipality has written a $2.5 million dollar cheque to honour a major part of its redress pledge to the former community of Africville, is due in no small part to the pressure by you and many other citizens through your recent letter-writing campaign.
Your recent actions on this issue reminds me of a Margaret Mead quote, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Congratulations!
As your federal MP, you can count on my support for the promised additional federal funds for this most important project.
and here's kelly's:
I wish to thank you for your interest in the commitments Regional Council and I have made, on behalf of the people of HRM, to the former residents of Africville and their descendants.
I’m pleased to tell you that, by the end of this year, we will have honoured most of the commitments we made when we offered our unconditional apology to the community, last February.
Here, briefly, is what has been accomplished since then:
● A cheque for $2.5 million of our $3 million commitment towards the cost of building a new Seaview United Baptist Church has already been turned over to the recently formed Africville Heritage Trust Society. (Note: Actual construction and operation of the new church is the responsibility of the Trust Society);
● The balance of the financial commitment ($500,000) will cover the cost of installing water and septic services for the Seaview Park property on which the church and eventual interpretive centre will be built;
● The property (2.5 acres) which HRM has promised is surveyed and ready to be deeded to the Africville Heritage Trust Board;
● We are awaiting suggestions from the Africville Genealogy Society on our commitment to rename Seaview Park;
● With regard our commitment to establish an Office of HRM-African Affairs, discussions are being held with the province to ensure this new responsibility does not merely duplicate the work of the provincial Office of African-Nova Scotian Affairs. We anticipate this new HRM portfolio will be established early next year.
Be assured that Council and I are most serious about the commitments we have made to the survivors of Africville and those who have gone before.
We are moving steadily ahead to honour those pledges with the full assistance of the Africville community itself. We respect the sensitivity of these matters and we are making sure we work to the pace and timetable set by those who have been most affected.
Believe me, we wish to see Africville rise again and take its rightful place in our midst, every bit as much as you obviously do.
Your interest and support is very much appreciated.
Respectfully, I remain