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Raymond Sheppard: My African Nova Scotian wishlist for 2021

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Before I jump into my wishlist for the year 2021, let me offer up my nomination for 

African Nova Scotian of The Year 2020

Eddie Carvery leads the march calling for Africville reparations. Photo Robert Devet

Mr. Eddie Carvery: Eddie has been a lifelong advocate and activist for his community of Africville. He has shown his relentless pursuit of justice for Africville, his indomitable spirit and perseverance is admirable and inspirational.


Now my wishlist for 2021:

Reparations

Photo Robert Devet

The governments of Canada and Nova Scotia should rightfully provide reparations to African Nova Scotians and African Canadians for the enslavement of African people in Canada.

Mobilization and action against hate

White supremacy seemingly sets the tone in Canada as to how African Canadians are treated and how little respect is received. Ministers of Justice across Canada, police departments, courts, CSIS, and others must come together to reverse the continuing increase in white supremacy in Canada instead of penalizing African Canadians just for being African Canadians.

Consult African Nova Scotians

The new premier of Nova Scotia should consult widely with African Nova Scotians before putting together any program that may be beneficial to the African Nova Scotian community. 

Collect race-based data

Race-based data must be collected and shared with the African Nova Scotian/Canadian Community. After all, we have been researched, tested and experimented on, most times without our knowledge. Now it is time for African Canadians to have this data collected and shared.

See also: Dr. OmiSoore Dryden: Why would African Nova Scotians trust the health system?

Cultural competency training

All stores in Nova Scotia that have floor walkers (a.k.a. security) should proactively upgrade their training so Persons of Color are not targeted based on the racism of stereotypes. Cultural competency training is definitely encouraged.

Human rights

Photo Robert Devet

The minister of Justice for Nova Scotia and the provincial government should definitely amend the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act to make sure African Nova Scotians get the fairness and due process they deserve. Legislation must be strengthened in order to truly make a difference for persons having to endure racism and other injustices. As previously stated, this action is long overdue and therefore amendments to the Human Rights Act should be made ASAP yesterday and definitely before the end of the International Decade for People of African Descent, 2015–2024. 

The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission (NSHRC) should make it a priority to streamline their approach when dealing with complaints from the African Nova Scotia community, hire more African Nova Scotians investigators and intake workers. Provide timely responses and acknowledgement to complainants would be respectful.

Immediate Resignation of Chief Dan Kinsella 

Photo Robert Devet

Halifax Regional Police Chief Dan Kinsella should immediately resign for his shallow and misleading apology in November to the African Nova Scotian community regarding illegal street checks. One year and one month later and there are still reports from African Nova Scotians that they are being street checked. There seems to be no action taken at all regardless of Covid-19. The lack of accountability of the police continues to foster a lack of trust.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

Photo Judy Haiven

CBC has committed to the development of an African Nova Scotian Program on television and/or radio after protests, articles posted on the Nova Scotia Advocate, many meetings over Google. African Canadian CBC Halifax Producer Brian Daly will be the program development progress person and is responsible for piloting a new program by and for the African Nova Scotian community in the New Year. Brother Daly will touch base with numerous African Nova Scotians.

I believe this is a start and hopefully blossoms into something truly meaningful to the African Nova Scotian community and subsequently becomes a national program.

Banking support for Black businesses

The major banks in Nova Scotia “must stop the crap.” Prime minister Justin Trudeau announced investments of up to nearly $221 million in partnership with Canadian financial institutions – including up to nearly $93 million from the Government of Canada over the next four years – to launch Canada’s first-ever Black entrepreneurship program. 

This program will help thousands of Black business owners and entrepreneurs across the country recover from this crisis and grow their businesses, said the prime minister of Canada. Yet many African Nova Scotian business owners and African Nova Scotian entrepreneurs are being discouraged based on all the hoops they must jump through put there by financial institutions. 

Hopefully, these financial institutions will stop the crap and streamline the process. This seems to be a Just Us syndrome. 

The Nova Scotia healthcare system

The public healthcare system in Nova Scotia is in serious need of cultural competency training and other revisions that would stop the anti-Black racism faced by African Nova Scotians. During the pandemic a number of African Nova Scotians have complained about being disrespected, mistreated or passed over based on apparent racial bias, sometimes with the excuse of Covid-19. 

See also: Dr. Lynn Jones, Going to the ER while Black

Counselling and mental health 

Given the mix of Covid-19 and racism and the anxiety, panic attacks, depression that causes, the government of Nova Scotia should endorse Afrocentric mental health counselling, based on traditions, heritage, culture, and lineage. The province should fund training in counselling for interested African Nova Scotians. 

Anti-Black racism studied at law schools

I wish all law schools in Canada, including the Dalhousie Law School, would study the topic of anti-Black racism, this would in my opinion allow graduates a better understanding of these negative practices and the impact it has on people of African descent in Canada.  Equally, I wish there was a psychological test to identify bias for all those connected with the Criminal Justice in Canada.

See also: Raymond Sheppard: Why we need Afrocentric counselling in Nova Scotia

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3 Comments

  1. I have been Assaulted right down to being sent home for eating crackers human rights has had my case for almost a year going on two and I have not gotten any results…..as a young black man they definitely show you they dont have are best interests regardless if your a victim the system is build to make use look bad in every way to protect there jobs or company..

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