African Nova Scotian groups request meeting with Premier

Editor’s note: The following letter was written to Premier Tim Houston.

Dear Premier Houston;

On Thursday Sept. 9, the Association of Black Social Workers (ABSW), Health Association of African Canadians (HAAC) and African United Baptist Association of Nova Scotia (AUBA) hosted a Black Family Meeting for Nova Scotians of African descent.

Since the appointment of Pat Dunn as the Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs (ANSA) and Minister for the Office of Equity and Anti-Racism, the removal of Dr. Kesa Munroe-Anderson as the Deputy Minister of ANSA and subsequent egregious injustice within our elected government and the health system in Nova Scotia, our organizations have received numerous calls of concern from community members. Our communities have felt re-traumatized, disrespected, disappointed, and ignored by your actions.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the impact of our elected government’s changes and to move forward with solution-focused, strategic responses. Over 200 people registered from across the province. They were representative of various ages and backgrounds who came together with a unified purpose to have their voices heard.

Individuals identified issues and urgent concerns that require immediate action from our elected government. Those in attendance spoke of the systemic racist approach to decision-making that was taken by our elected government and the lack of respect to our history and lived experience.

Black Nova Scotians are recognized and acknowledged as one of the Founding Peoples of Nova Scotia. Moving forward without our hard-won representation, our voices and contributions and valuing our distinct history, is an act of anti-Black racism and White supremacy. It is the people of African descent in Nova Scotia who, through our vision and self-determination, must lead the development of short- and long-term solutions to this injustice. These solutions must be heard by you, Premier Houston, prior to the Fall sitting of the legislature.

Therefore, we are calling for an immediate meeting with you.

The African Nova Scotian community will continue to press forward as a unified voice, with the steadfast support of allies from across the province, to ensure that our elected officials are held accountable for the decisions recently taken which mean to undermine the progress we have obtained with previous elected officials. We will hold our government accountable!

Carolann Wright

African United Baptist Association of Nova Scotia Social Action Committee Chair

Veronica Marsman

Association of Black Social Workers Past-President

Sharon Davis-Murdoch

Health Association of African Canadians Co-President