During this federal election, those vying for the office of Prime Minister and those political parties wanting to form the next federal government should commit to reparations for African descendants of slavery in Canada.
Raymond Sheppard: Whereas all North American governments and others profited of the enslavement of the African, reparations to the descendants of those forced into slavery should be a no brainer.
Raymond Sheppard: “The first war that we must face as African people is the war on ourselves. The oppressors live inside us, they are in our minds and every piece of material we read including textbooks, reinforce their so-called superiority.”
Elise Harding-Davis: “More times than I can count I have listened to and read, “Those were different or confusing times”, or, “Slavery wasn’t my fault, so why should I have to apologize for what my ancestors/others where responsible for that systemic racism”. You, I and the rest of the world now know better, but shameless buck-passing continues.”
Raymond Sheppard nominates Eddie Carvery for African Nova Scotian of the year, and makes some wishes for 2021: Fire Chief Dan Kinsella, reparations, collect race-based data, a CBC that pays attention to the African Nova Scotian community and more.
Awareness of environmental racism in Nova Scotia has changed for the better over the last five years or so. A private members bill, shaped to a large extent by Dr. Ingrid Waldron and introduced by then NDP MLA Lenore Zann in 2015, played a considerable part in that shift. Waldron and Zann, now a Liberal MP, are giving the legislation another shot, this time in Ottawa.
Africville survivors, their descendants and supporters rallied at City Hall today to send a clear signal to politicians of all stripes that their decades-long struggle for meaningful reparations is picking up steam.
What started out as $70 million in reparations for the suffering caused by Catholic residential schools was whittled down to $16 million by the Catholic Church. Michael William McDonald, a lawyer from Sipekne’katik explains how that happened. “Compensation must be sufficient to provide healing,” he writes, “perhaps then we can find the right path to reconciliation.”
After the Africville rally I had a longer conversation with Denise Allen, one of the organizers and an Africville survivor herself. “I don’t know who our political representatives represent when they fight against justice for Africville. They’re certainly not representing their constituents. What they’re looking out for is the bottom line, they just don’t want to pay.”
Several hundred people gathered at Africville Park on the shores of the Bedford Basin in Halifax to demand reparations for the loss of their community and the centuries of racism they were made to endure.