Council Connects with Community Members at the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia

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Council held their May meeting in the community on May 17, 2019, at the Black Cultural Centre to provide insight into the Society’s role and into our equity and access work. Council also heard firsthand from community members as conversations focused on understanding African Nova Scotian access to justice and legal services.

"Our Council gave a little of its time to the community, and received so much more in return," said Jim Rossiter QC, Council's Second Vice-President.  "We lawyers were asked to get rid of “preconceived notions,” to truly listen, take the time to understand the realities and background of members of the community, and welcome the involvement of a client’s professional supporter, family, or friends." 

Community members and Council met in small round table groups over lunch to share, listen and learn. Each group engaged in meaningful discussions about various challenges. 

"Our group discussed the lack of mentors or male role models that are in the legal profession and that are reflective of the African Nova Scotian community, to educate young boys who want to pursue law as a career," said Courtney Brown, a social worker with the Nova Scotia Association of Black Social Workers. "We also discussed barriers to providing education around what lawyers and judges do. If students are unaware of what a lawyers role is, how likely is it that they will pursue this career? We need to do a better job to ensure students are educated at an earlier age." 

"Our round table discussions and group conversations were a powerful reminder of the daily barriers, challenges and obstacles that people continue to face and struggle with in our justice system," said Jillian Barrington, Council member from the Cape Breton District."It also brought to the forefront the frustrations within the community and the urgency we face as a law society and as a justice system for genuine calculated change.  This was one of the most moving meetings for me since I started on the Society's Council." 

A special thank you to the community members who joined us to share their insight and experiences.

See photos from this event on the Society's Facebook page.

Learn about the Society's Equity & Access work here