Fundraiser to replace Harriet Tubman bust at St. Catharines church nearly at the mark in just 10 days

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Published October 25, 2021 at 2:14 pm

There can be little doubt now that St. Catharines residents have a deep love for famed freedom fighter Harriet Tubman.

The Go Fund Me created by St. Catharines resident Natasha Bell to replace the vandalized bust of Tubman at Salem Chapel British Methodist Episcopal Church has nearly hit its goal of $13,000 after just 10 days.

As of this morning, the fundraiser hit the $11,513 mark.

Bell, best-known as the owner-operator of BlackOwned905 and member of Matter of Black, said she felt “saddened and sickened that the bust of Harriet Tubman that has graced the church courtyard for 10 years was destroyed. And I know many of you are too. ”

While at first seen as a racially-motivated attack, the Niagara Police ruled that out after arresting a 24-year-old vagrant with no fixed address. Nonetheless, it was still outright vandalism.

Bell wants to replace the former bust, made of the traditional ultra-hard cement, with a far more durable (and harder to vandalize) bronze one.

Bell’s campaign, which started saw a big boost over the first weekend when one anonymous donor chipped in $2,000.

Bell said sculptor Frank Rekrut would recreate the statue. The cost to replace the statue using specialty cement is estimated at $11,500 to $12,000. A bronze statue would cost $13,000 so that’s what she shot for in the fundraiser.

Bell is well-known with Niagara Region as she was honoured with a Niagara Impact Award in June. The region said that she has taken “remarkable steps to help enrich our community by supporting diversity and black-owned businesses across Niagara.”

Noting she’s been nominated numerous times, the region added, “Natasha’s positive and constructive outlook has helped to make Niagara a more welcoming and inclusive community, while also putting a spotlight on black business owners who have persevered and prospered in the face of adversity and systemic prejudice.”

If you’d like to see Bell’s Go Fund Me page, the direct link is: https://www.gofundme.com/f/replace-harriet-tubman-statue-at-salem-chapel?utm_campaign=p_lico+share-sheet+spider1c&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=customer

(Photo of Natasha Bell courtesy of Niagara Region)

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