A month-long celebration of culture, heritage and progress was launched today, Jan. 27, when February was proclaimed African Heritage Month at Province House. Also unveiled at the launch was this year’s theme: Leading Ladies, Lasting Legacies. It honours the unsung matriarchs who have made lasting contributions to their communities. “Every February, our community organizes and gathers at events provincewide to honour its history and longevity,” said Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs Minister Percy Paris, who made the proclamation. “This year we’re taking the time to acknowledge the special contributions six women made to Nova Scotia. Their combined kindness, wisdom and generosity have touched the lives of many Nova Scotians of African descent. “I encourage all Nova Scotians to make an effort to discover and celebrate the contributions of Edith Cromwell, Ada Fells, Geraldine White, Beryl Braithwaite, May Sheppard and Wilena Jones and the lasting contributions they have made to our province.” To honour the matriarchs, spoken word artist and Halifax Regional Municipality poet laureate Shauntay Grant wrote and performed an original piece. It was a moving tribute to the women’s dedication to their communities. “There are a number of great and diverse activities that will interest everyone taking place this month,” said Wayn Hamilton, African Nova Scotian Affairs CEO. “From Sydney to Amherst, New Glasgow to Digby and everywhere in between there is something planned for almost every day in February.” The community events calendar and more information on African Heritage Month are available on the African Nova Scotian Affairs website at www.gov.ns.ca/ansa. The calendar is updated as information on events is received. Weekly updates will be available by calling 902-424-3842, beginning Saturday, Jan. 30. Again this year, the African History Month Information Network worked in partnership with the Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs to develop a month-long calendar of events across the province. The network includes African Nova Scotian Affairs, African Nova Scotian Music Association, African Heritage Month North-Central Network, African Heritage Month Southwest Network, Black History Month Association, Cumberland African Nova Scotian Association, Cape Breton Service Providers, and the Valley African Nova Scotian Development Association.