It would be good to know how many African Nova Scotians are being targeted as police get more aggressive in enforcing COVID-19 regulations, and how that number compares to the white population. It was exactly to answer these questions that Dr. Wortley recommended that the police track race-based data on all interactions with citizens. However, we will never know, as work on that recommendation hasn’t even started.

A recent human rights case, launched by Gyasi Symonds after being racially profiled by Halifax police, is a showcase for all that is wrong with the way the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission (NSHRC) deals with human rights complaints and complainants.

After Premier McNeil’s surprise apology for systemic racism in the justice system and the harm it has done, he announced the formation of a design team “to reimagine a system of justice in Nova Scotia”. We talk with Robert Wright, spokesperson for the DPAD coalition, to find out more about its proposals for an African Nova Scotian Justice Institute and a Policing Strategy, and to better understand its criticism of the provincial justice initiative.

On the evening of August 13, 2020, in my own neighbourhood, right outside of my children’s classroom, I witnessed a Halifax police officer accelerate his vehicle to make physical contact with a woman, temporarily throwing her off balance. Vehicular assault. From a block away I could hear her pleading with the officer to leave her alone up until that point. After stumbling momentarily she asked the officer why he’d done that and then used the phrase “Black Lives Matter”. My heart raced.

Open letter by the ANSDPAD Coalition: For decades our community has called on government to work collaboratively with us to address the ongoing issues of racial profiling, over policing, police brutality, systemic anti-Black racism in the justice system, and differential treatment while incarcerated.