Without a doubt one of the most inspiring stories to emerge from the pandemic is how the Preston communities mobilized to protect residents from infection. I spoke with Dr. David Haase, Sharon Davis-Murdoch and Archie Beals, three people who are closely involved, about this and other community initiatives, the role of the government, tomorrow’s town hall on the vaccine, and related matters. Casting a shadow on the entire conversation: what is the role of systemic racism in all this?
Media release: Like all African Nova Scotian communities, North Preston, the largest Indigenous African Nova Scotian Community, has been besieged with racism and injustice.
The claim that COVID-19 and its associated medical and social responses do not discriminate belies the history of how pandemics work and who is most impacted by them. States of emergency show that citizenship privileges some, is partial for others and disappears others. By Beverly Bain, OmiSoore Dryden and Rinaldo Walcott
An open letter demands that Premier Stephen McNeil and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Strang apologize to Black residents of East and North Preston, Cherry Brook and Loon Lake. We talk with Dr. OmiSoore Dryden, the James R. Johnston chair in Black Studies at Dalhousie University, who spearheaded the letter.
“We’re already fighting the battle of being Black, the battle of being from North Preston,” says Miranda Cain. “And now we’re fighting the battle of being from North Preston and Black and with an infectious disease.”
PSA: This dynamic dramatic musical production written and directed by Anne Johnson-McDonald, is about both the historical and present power of the people of Preston, beginning with the wisdom of an African elder proclaiming and foretelling the power and faith of the people to overcome adversity to reach the greatness of their preordained destiny.
Scott Neigh’s weekly podcast is a wonderful thing, and Scott is a kind man who always allows us to share an interview whenever the topic has a Nova Scotia relevance. Here he speaks with North Preston and Nort End community activist LaMeia Reddick, and Ted Rutland, author of Displacing Blackness: Planning, Power, and Race in Twentieth-Century Halifax, a must-read for anybody interested in urban planning and / or the history of the struggle against racism in Halifax. It’s a book I simply can’t recommend enough.
Excellent documentary about a bunch of North Preston kids making a music video about their love for the community.
A new CCPA report takes a very close look at the sad picture of child poverty in Halifax. It contains information you likely didn’t know about your community or neighborhood. For instance, Spryfield has a child poverty rate of 40%, and in rural Nova Scotia North Preston (40%), East Preston (38.9), and Sheet Harbour (26.1%) lead the pack. Meanwhile, Fall RIver has a child poverty rate of a mere 3.9%.
Meet Elaine Cain, a North Preston resident who owns land in her community but doesn’t have a deed. She was born on the land she claims, and her father wants nothing more than for her to have it, but a lengthy and expensive legal process and an uncaring bureaucracy are major stumbling blocks. “First of all, that’s where I was born, on that property,” says Cain. “Ever since, that property has been part of me. As long as I am alive, that’s going to be alive for me.”