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Racial profiling victim speaks out, still waiting for Sobeys apology

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Andrella David, the African Nova Scotian woman falsely accused of shoplifting at the Tantallon Sobeys branch, is not wavering in her demand for an apology from the grocery chain.

“I am awaiting a long over due apology from Sobeys group, and I am truly saddened that Sobeys will not recognize that the behaviour and comments of their employee, not only about me, but about my community as well, were simply racist, David writes in a statement issued on Thursday.

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Protests at the Tantallon Sobeys in March of 2016. Photo Robert Devet

In October of 2015 the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission (NSHRC) concluded that David was a victim of racial profiling when in 2009 a store manager accused her of being a repeat shoplifter.

The employee also made derogatory remarks about her and residents of Upper Hammonds Plains, a historic and proud Black community nearby.

In its decision the NSHRC ordered Sobeys to apologize, pay damages, and train staff so that they recognize when racial profiling takes place.

Rather than apologize, Sobeys instead appealed that decision, triggering a large protest at the store in March and more recent calls for a consumer boycott.

Subsequently Sobeys announced that it will withdraw the appeal, but if and when a public apology will be issued to both Ms. David and her community remains unclear.

“This was never about the money for me; it has always been about the dignity and respect that I deserve. After 7 years, I will continue to fight for accountability, staff training and I will continue to await an apology that has been well overdue,” writes David.

David mentions the sizable attention and support for her case since Sobeys decided to appeal the NSHRC decision.

“I am truly grateful for all of the support I have received from not only my friends and family, but the entire community of Upper Hammonds Plains. I have also felt as support from people in Nova Scotia and around the country since this issue has become public,” she writes.

“I also stand humbled and grateful for the members of the public who refuse to sit by and say nothing.”

The initial call for a consumers’ boycott of the grocer originated from the African United Baptist Association of Nova Scotia (AUAB NS), an organization of 19 member churches.

This week representatives of the AUAB NS are at the convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches in Moncton, and there are strong suggestions that its 450 member churches may join the boycott.

See also: Organizer of Sobeys protest: It’s not skin-deep, its’ a bone-deep issue.










One Comment

  1. It looks like Sobey’s is getting ready to finally admit that they were in the wrong. Imagine if they had done this back on the day in 2009. They could have realised it right away., apologised, send their staff for better training and sensitivity to racism, and perhaps given Ms David a years supply of groceries. It would have been better for the community, better for Ms David, and all forgotten a few days later. Now, Sobey’s is linked with racism nationally, they have been boycotted for, (is it going on 7 years now?), and their reputation has been damaged regardless of what they do now. Is hanging onto their racism really that important to them? It really boggle the mind what lack of thinking goes on in these corporate boardrooms. Proof that stupidity and racism go hand in hand once again.
    I’m glad that Sobey’s is finally showing hints of having learned something. If they are withdrawing their appeal, fine! I assume that means that they are accepting the ruling of the Human Rights Commission, and if memory serves me, that includes an apology. That would be good. In that event, would we be lifting the boycott? I’ll be watching this closely.

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