Kjipuktuk (Halifax) – About 80 people rallied this afternoon at the the Maritime Centre, home of the Department of Labour and Advanced Education. They were there to protest anti-Black racism in workplaces anywhere, and especially to support Nhlanhla Dlamini, the young Black man shot with a high velocity nail gun by a co-worker employed with PQ Properties Limited of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia on September 18.
As we reported earlier, the attack caused a punctured and collapsed lung which required a four-day stay at a local hospital. Prior to the shooting Dlamini suffered racist slurs and actions from that same coworker who fired the gun.
Today we were told that employer, landlord and developer Paul Quinn, although not around when the nail gun attack happened, witnessed at least one other racist incident that targeted Dlamini. Quinn was present when Dlamini’s jacket was nailed to a floor, and laughed, rather than protect Dlamini.
The worker who shot Dlamini, Shawn Wade Hynes, was charged with criminal negligence causing bodily harm, and released on conditions that he have no contact with the victim.
Rally organizers believe that Hynes should be charged with attempted murder, and that the incident needs to be considered a hate crime. The refusal by prosecutors and police to even entertain such a charge is in itself racist, many speakers argued. Rally organizers also want the Department of Labour to conduct a proper investigation.
Dlamini briefly addressed the crowd.
I did not come out with the problem, because I had only been there for two weeks. Why would they believe me, rather than Hynes, he said.
“I was just letting it die out, but me letting it die out made the incident happen, I let it go too far. My mom tends to keep me away from all the negative comments, people who say I forced this on myself, who say I was asking for it, but I now understand that I did nothing wrong, I just went to work,” Dlamini said.
Other speakers included Dr,Rhonda Britton of the African United Baptist Association, Lynn Jones, Raymond Sheppard, Robert Wright, NDP leader Gary Burrell, and representatives of Solidarity Halifax, Equity Watch, the Dalhousie Black, Indigenous and People of Colour Caucus, the Unifor Aboriginal and People of Colour, and more.
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