Young Newport woman nets provincial African Heritage Month award

Ashley Thompson
Published on February 24, 2014

Premier Stephen McNeil, African Nova Scotian Affairs Minister Tony Ince, and Lt.-Gov. J.J. Grant presented Erica Porter with an African Heritage Month plaque at a provincial event celebrating the launch of Nova Scotia’s 30th African Heritage Month. (Submitted photo)

A West Hants resident is one of six recipients of a provincial award recognizing young Nova Scotians of African descent who are making positive contributions to their communities.

Lt.-Gov. J.J. Grant, Premier Stephen McNeil and African Nova Scotian Affairs Minister Tony Ince presented Erica Porter with an African Heritage Month plaque Jan. 28. Recipients hailing from Newport, Glace Bay, Antigonish, Amherst, Halifax and Yarmouth accepted the award.

The plaques were presented during a celebration marking the onset of the 30th African Heritage Month in February. The theme for African Heritage Month this year is Rising Stars: Celebrating Our Youth.

"African Heritage Month is a chance for people of African descent and all Nova Scotians to celebrate and learn about the province's rich African Nova Scotian culture, and to reflect on what it means to have extraordinary young people leading our communities," said McNeil in a press release announcing the award winners.

"The rising stars of the African Nova Scotia community are showing us that hard work, dedication and the willingness to help others can have a tremendous impact on our society."

Porter, a recent Avon View High School grad, says she was surprised to learn she was selected for the award.

“I didn’t really know people thought of me like that,” she said.

Porter fishes alongside her father, Darren Porter, in the Avon River for a living. She also helps her dad operate a fishing weir in Bramber that has become a bit of a tourist attraction throughout the years.

The workdays may be long, leaving little time for rest and relaxation in the peak season from March to August, but Porter says she is a glass-half-full kind of gal who greets each new day “with a smile on her face.”

“I don’t bring negativity around.”

Instead, Porter focuses on the positives. She’s proud to be a young woman making her way in what is typically viewed as a male-dominated occupation, and she’s grateful for every sunset she takes in.

“You get to see something every day that is different,” she says of her time on — or in — the water.

Looking forward, Porter suspects fishing will always play a large role in her life.

“In the future I kind of hope to be a fisheries officer to see the other side of things.”