featured Racism

An African Nova Scotian wish list for 2019

Photo Robert Devet

Reparations for the enslavement of African Peoples in Nova Scotia should be taken more seriously by the government of Nova Scotia and the government of Canada

Nova Scotia Law Enforcement and the entire Criminal Justice System take anti Black racism, hate crimes and intolerance more serious with the application of law

Human Rights: The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission (NSHRC) make it a priority to hire some African Nova Scotians, especially as investigators and intake workers. Equally, the government of Nova Scotia introduce legislation to strengthen the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act in order to truly take a bite out of racism.

Employment HRM: Halifax Council implement all the recommendations of the Employment System Review Report, hire more African Nova Scotians and promote more African Nova Scotians to leadership positions. Equally, HRM leadership should make every sincere effort to control racially toxic work environments.

HRM, Nova Scotia municipalities, the provincial government and companies seeking employees throughout Nova Scotia should aggressively recruit African Nova Scotians and other individuals from marginalized groups. For far too long African Nova Scotians have been unemployed and underemployed. True diversity in a harassment-free workplace is a blessing and makes good business sense.

Counselling / mental health: The government of Nova Scotia should recognize and support Afrocentric mental health counselling based on cultural influences.

Specifically, culture influences:

  1. What type of threat is perceived as traumatic;
  2. How individuals and communities interpret the meaning of a traumatic event and how they express their reactions to the event, etc.;
  3. What is seen as an appropriate response for African Nova Scotians

Poverty: Anti-poverty programs should be maintained and improved to include on the job community training programs, valued prior learning assessment tools, increased income support payments that truly equal the cost of living, etc.

Health: The medical community must stop over- prescribing medication for African Nova Scotians and start recognizing traditional African medicine involving herbalism and other treatments. Prescribing medications that are highly priced only serves to affect one’s mental health when they cannot afford to have the prescription filled.

Funding: Based on taxes paid by African Nova Scotians on a yearly basis, part of these funds should be redirected back in the African Nova Scotian community for much needed programs and services like Africentric mental health services, addiction services, recreation, youth-centered programs, seniors programs and programs for women, etc.

Education: Additional African Nova Scotian teachers should be hired, African Nova Scotian history, traditions and culture should be a part of teacher training in Nova Scotia, thus leading to greater sensitivity with African Nova Scotian learners. The Lynn Jones Collection of African Nova Scotian historical print media should become a part of the History being taught in the public school system in Nova Scotia, etc.

Adoption Disclosure: In 2019, the Nova Scotia Government (Department of Community Services) should open the files on African Nova Scotian children that were forcefully taken and otherwise removed from their families during 1960-2000. These children were adopted within Nova Scotia, Ontario and a few other provinces. The Ministry of Children and Youth Services of Ontario says” they are unable to provide information unless the province of birth has open disclosure.”


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