Nova Scotia

Picnic planned at N.S. beach where family was threatened by teens swinging noose

Two young people on Nova Scotia's South Shore are organizing a picnic this weekend at the Chester Basin beach where a biracial family was threatened with a noose earlier this month.

'We want BIPOC folks to be able to go wherever they'd like,' says organizer

Peter Fisk and Lauryn Guest are organizing a Black Lives Matter picnic to support a recently threatened family and other people of colour on the South Shore. (Submitted by Peter Fisk and Lauryn Guest)

Two young people on Nova Scotia's South Shore are organizing a Black Lives Matter picnic this weekend at the Chester Basin beach where an interracial family was threatened with a noose earlier this month.

Greg Dean and Cyndi Rafuse were swimming with their kids and relatives at Hutt Lake on Aug. 15 when they say two white teens drove up and dangled a noose at them. Dean and his nine-year-old son were the only people of colour at the beach, as the rest of his family members are white.

The RCMP said Thursday that they're still investigating, but no charges have been laid. 

Peter Fisk and Lauryn Guest wanted to organize the event to support the family and other people of colour on the South Shore.

Two Black youth from Nova Scotia's South Shore are organizing a picnic to show support for people of colour at the same beach where a biracial family was threatened earlier this month. 9:12

"We want BIPOC [Black, Indigenous and people of colour] folks to be able to go wherever they'd like to, and be able to feel comfortable in spaces here and really reclaim the space," Guest told CBC's Information Morning on Thursday.

The 20-year-old, who is Black, recently moved to the South Shore from Toronto and said she's sickened but not shocked by the racism the family faced that Saturday afternoon.

"I get followed in stores. People come up to me and will touch my hair or touch me without consent. I have been called some slurs," she said. 

"I've isolated myself in the past because I didn't feel safe to go out and be in spaces because of some of the experiences I had."

Greg Dean and Cyndi Rafuse took their sons and extended family for a camping vacation on the weekend of Aug. 15-16, but they say Saturday afternoon was spoiled by a racist threat involving a noose. (Greg Dean and Cyndi Rafuse)

Fisk hopes the event encourages people to talk about the racism Black people endure every day in communities along the South Shore. 

"There is a lot of racism in this area and a lot of it just gets swept under," he said. "It was a certain point before something like this was going to happen because there have been a lot of microaggressions."

Guest said everyone is welcome to attend the picnic, which will include speeches, music and food. 

"It's important because it shows that we have everyone supporting us and that we're there for each other," she said.

Picnic planned for Sunday afternoon

Guest added that she's not worried about another confrontation.

"We are going to be supporting each other and loving each other, and if anything like that were to happen, we would de-escalate it quickly and take care of each other," she said. 

Dean and his family have also been invited to attend.

"I really just ... hope that they can see a heartwarming community coming together for them, and that [it] is a safe, open environment and the family is able to finally get their swim," Fisk said.

The picnic is planned for this Sunday from 3 to 6 p.m., and the rain date will be Monday, Aug. 31, at 3 p.m.

With files from CBC's Information Morning

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