On January 22nd, 2024 the Province launched this year’s African Heritage Month where, during the month of February, we celebrate and honour the culture, history, and traditions of people of African descent.
This year, the theme is Our Smiles, Our Joy, Our Resilience as African Nova Scotians, which acknowledges:
…the spirit of perseverance that people of African Descent have demonstrated over the centuries in our province. It can be said that our smiles can tell a story, they can share our joy and can share our resilience.”:
This African Heritage Month we celebrate our heritage and culture and the incredible spirt to overcome. The theme also aligns with the final year of the United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent (DPAD) 2015-2024.
The goal of DPAD is to strengthen global cooperation in support of people of African descent, increase awareness and the passage towards presence in all aspects of society.
African Heritage Month provides us with another opportunity to celebrate our culture, legacy, achievements, and contributions of our people – past and present.
The African Heritage Month 2024: Virtual Provincial Proclamation Launch and Poster Unveiling Ceremony can be viewed here: African Heritage Month 2024 Launch, Poster Unveiling (youtube.com).
The African Heritage Month Information Network (AHMIN) also facilitates African Heritage Month events and municipal proclamations across the province. A full listing is available at: http://www.ahm.bccnsweb.com/wp/home/.
The Equity and Access Office is working on the following initiatives in keeping with the Society’s regulatory objectives to promote diversity, inclusion, substantive equality, and freedom from discrimination in the delivery of legal services and the justice system:
- The creation of a mandatory African Nova Scotian (ANS) cultural competency education program.
- The adoption of an official Society Mi’kmaq Land Acknowledgement and ANS Acknowledgement. The purpose of an ANS acknowledgement is to acknowledge that ANS are a distinct people who form part of 50+ historical land-based communities and who have contributed to Canada for over 400 years.
- Reviving the Indigenous Black and Mi’kmaq (IB&M) Initiative Mentorship Program, which is a partnership between the Society and Dalhousie Law School.
- Reviving the Internationally Trained Lawyer Observership Program, which is a partnership between the Society and the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS) to provide newcomers an opportunity to gain exposure to the practice of law in Nova Scotia.
- Pilot to increase representation of racialized members on professional responsibility committees, recruitment of racialized practice reviewers, racialized mentorship support, and pro/low bono services.
- Law Foundation application submitted to create an internship program for ANS and Mi’kmaq high school students who are interested in pursuing a career in the law.
- Staff Lunch-n-Learn where we will be screening CBC’s “FreeUp! Emancipation Day 2023 multimedia video which marks the abolition of slavery throughout the British Empire with riveting conversation and performances. FreeUp! Emancipation Day 2023 | Events | CBC Gem
Our Equity & Access Office has also compiled the following African Heritage Month resources:
Workplace resource: So you’ve declared that Black Lives Matter. Now what? – The Management Center
Historical Resource: Volume 1 of The Clarion, including a front page story about Viola Desmond’s appeal
Novel: Reproduction by Ian Williams | Penguin Random House Canada (Trinidadian Canadian author, winner of the 2020 Giller Prize)
Poetry: Expect the Unexpected by Guyleigh Johnson (CA), Pottersfield Press – Atlantic Books – poet from North Dartmouth
Nonfiction: Black Writers Matter (uofrpress.ca), Edited by Whitney French – an anthology of black Canadian writing from new and established writers that aims to reflect the “everydayness” of living in Canada while being black.
Report: Nova Scotia’s new Anti-Racism and Justice Strategy
Further Reading: Black Writers – A Reading List – Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia, curated by Afua Cooper, Habiba Cooper Diallo, Asha Jeffers, Chad Lucas, Sylvia Parris, and Evelyn C. White