KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – You can vote to name our newest passenger ferry, set to arrive here this summer.
We should name the new ferry after Viola Desmond.
Viola Desmond is the brave African Nova Scotian woman who in 1946 sat down in the section of a New Glasgow movie theatre reserved for whites and wouldn’t budge when told to leave.
What happened is pretty well known.
Dragged out of the theatre, she spent a night in prison, paid a hefty fine, and the next day drove back home to Halifax.
Desmond, a strong and proud woman, mounted a legal challenge against a ridiculous charge.
She was accused of defrauding the government of the difference in tax between a ground floor and a balcony seat. A difference of one cent, for crying out loud.
The black community rallied in her support and became stronger and more politicized because of her.
But she lost her case. The judges focused on technicalities and pretended racism played no role in it, essentially condoning segregation.
And that was that.
Racism in the beginning, racism in the middle, racism at the end.
It would be silly to think that naming a ferry after Viola Desmond will somehow make up for historic wrongs.
And even sillier to believe that an online vote taking all of one minute would imply that things are so much better now. Assuming that she even wins, of course.
Nonetheless, a ferry bearing Viola’s name would be a wonderful sight to behold.
Click here to vote. You can vote once per computer or device. Voting ends at the end of the day, Monday, February 15th.