The Province is taking an important step in addressing systemic racism in the justice system by developing an African Nova Scotian Justice Plan.
The plan will help address barriers to justice faced by African Nova Scotians. A key part of its development will be consulting with African Nova Scotian communities, and 16 in-person sessions across the province are planned for May 3 to June 28.
“The voices of African Nova Scotian community members are a critical part of the plan development,” said Attorney General and Justice Minister Brad Johns. “Our government is committed to addressing systemic racism and discrimination in the justice system. We acknowledge the negative experiences this has on African Nova Scotians, and we must take steps to improve access, remove barriers, ensure fairness and improve the relationship between African Nova Scotian communities and the justice system.”
The African Nova Scotian Decade for People of African Descent Coalition and the Association of Black Social Workers are partnering with the Province on the consultation. Three of the public engagement sessions will focus on youth.
An online survey will also launch in May and be available through the consultation phase.
Input from the public engagement sessions will be captured in a report that will be shared with communities for feedback as part of a second phase of consultation scheduled for later this year.
“The African Nova Scotian Justice Institute and the African Nova Scotian Decade for People of African Descent Coalition are pleased and excited to work collaboratively with the Department of Justice in launching community consultations.”
– Vanessa Fells, Director of Operations, African Nova Scotian Decade for People of African Descent Coalition
“Engaging with the community will be integral to developing and executing a much-awaited and needed African Nova Scotian Justice Plan. This is a significant step in tackling and eradicating systemic anti-Black racism plaguing our justice system.”
– Robert Wright, Interim Executive Director, African Nova Scotian Justice Institute
“Our association is pleased to be providing support for the African Nova Scotian Justice Plan community consultations, as it is important for African Nova Scotian voices be heard.”
– Rachelle Sweeting, Acting President, Association of Black Social Workers
— the Province has committed to developing African Nova Scotian and Indigenous justice action plans
— African Nova Scotians represent about 2.4 per cent of the province’s population but represented 11.4 per cent of people admitted to remand and 10 per cent of those in custody in 2020-21
— the Province has invested $4.8 million in a community-led African Nova Scotian Justice Institute that will provide support, research and outreach programs to support African Nova Scotians in the justice system
— the province continues to support the acceleration of clearing land titles in five African Nova Scotian communities
Count Us In: Nova Scotia’s Action Plan in Response to the International Decade for People of African Descent: https://novascotia.ca/international-decade-for-people-of-african-descent/Action-Plan-international-decade-for-people-of-african-descent.pdf