Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children Restorative Inquiry staff and the Council of Parties have met with former residents of the home, community partners across the province, and public agencies to lay the foundation for the next phase of the inquiry’s work.
The inquiry has three main phases: relationship building, learning and understanding, and planning and action. The council, which is the governing body of the inquiry, released a report today, Feb. 8, highlighting the work so far.
“We have approached this differently than a traditional public inquiry,” said Chief Judge of the provincial and family courts Pamela Williams, co-chair of the council. “We know that if we can build relationships that will help public agencies and communities work together long after the inquiry is over, we will have a better opportunity to make a long-term difference.”
The report includes feedback from information sessions held throughout Nova Scotia and two youth-focused community workshops held in North Preston and East Preston. Participants in all sessions spoke about the ongoing effects of systemic racism on African Nova Scotian people and communities.
“We’ve heard very clearly that many African Nova Scotians still feel the impact of systemic racism on a regular basis,” said Tony Smith, council co-chair. “It may show up differently in Yarmouth than it does in Halifax or Sydney, but many of the concerns are similar, and they’re not new.”
The inquiry is mandated to examine how the issues that affected former residents still affect Nova Scotians today, especially African Nova Scotians. Former residents, community members and government representatives sit as partners on the inquiry’s council and reflection and action task group.
The inquiry’s next phase involves sharing circles for former residents, circles with partners, and ongoing research into the Home for Colored Children and the context and circumstances in which it operated. The inquiry will continue until spring 2018.
The report is available online at restorativeinquiry.ca/media.