A Message of Unity

The events of the past two weeks, south of the border, and the peaceful protests here in my beloved country of Canada, have made me reflect and gather my thoughts. Equality and inclusion for all is something I am deeply passionate about and that truly effects me.

As an immigrant of almost 40 years in Canada, I have encountered minor instances of indirect racism that I have been able to overcome. I have had to say to myself, ‘Once they get to know me, they will change.’ This has been my motto in dealing with these incidents.

However, I have spoken to a few of my African Nova Scotian friends and colleagues, who were born and raised in this province, who’s stories have been very different to mine.

Here is one:

“As a teenager, I remember my father dropping me off to my friend in a white neighbourhood, and the police stopping us to ask us questions, as if we should not be seen in this neighbourhood.”

I was also told:

“My brother was asked at the cinema to show that he paid for his tickets, while his white friends were not asked.”

These instances are still happening in Halifax. I ask myself as a visible minority woman, why I have been treated differently?

I believe we are in the midst of a revolution; the protests of the Black Lives Matter Movement. It is so important that we voice our support for the black community, who enrich the culture of the Maritimes — and the world.

My fear, and worry, is not only for the local black community, but the new immigrants from various African countries.

In Clayton Park West and Bedford, we have large immigrant African communities from: Nigeria, the Congo, Uganda, Rwanda & South Sudan.

These new African community members have enriched Clayton Park West and have contributed so much to our society; they are generous volunteers and talented entrepreneurs — among having many other amazing qualities.

I am truly concerned for them and their children.

My question to all of you is: How can we help protect them and their kids from receiving these racist remarks or unequal opportunities through work and education?

I was shocked and disappointed a few weeks ago to read that an act of racism happened in my riding; one of the most multicultural ridings in the Halifax Regional Municipality.

I was naive to think it doesn’t happen in our lovely neighbourhood… but unfortunately, it does.

A dear friend of mine, Ann Divine, posted an instance of racism a few weeks ago to Facebook.

Below was Ann’s post:

‘Racism continues to reign supreme in this province and people have become embolden these days. My husband was told to get his “black a**” off the crosswalk today. Am so angry but proud he stood up to the bigot. White Privilege!’

This blunt, racist remark to her husband (a professor), is not acceptable in 2020, nor EVER.

I ask you all to look within yourselves, as I did… and ask yourself what can you do to prevent this from happening in our beautiful city and province.

We need to give the same opportunity in jobs and education to our black community members.

We need to educate ourselves on black history in this province, and beyond, so that we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past.

I am proud of our recent Legislation in stopping street checks. We need to do more to remove these social injustices.

Despite all of the above, I believe we are so fortunate to be Canadians. We are an example to the rest of the world for our inclusion and diversity. Let’s make common sense and love our tool in solving this issue!

I chose the photos for this post from last years MLA Christmas Open House. These are the children that we need to protect from racism!

It is beautiful to come together and unite.

To the black community: I love you and I stand with you.

To learn more about the history of the African Nova Scotian Community, past and present, please visit: https://ansa.novascotia.ca/community

Black Lives Matter.