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North End Halifax to host Viola Desmond commemorative celebration

A group of North End partner organizations, including the North End Business Association, are hosting Celebrate Viola – a multi-day event in recognition of the new 10 dollar bill release and Viola’s legacy as a business woman and Civil Rights activist.

This celebration will take place from Wednesday, November 21 to Sunday, November 25, 2018, with the following events:
● Civil Rights Movement Then and Now A Round Table Discussion will feature recognized African Nova Scotian activists and scholars, who will discuss the civil rights movement in Canada and Nova Scotia, including what has changed since Viola’s day and a perspective of where we are now. Wednesday, November 21, 2018, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, McInnes Room, Dalhousie Students’ Union, 6136 University Avenue, Halifax.
● Viola: An Original Musical highlights Viola’s path from a successful businesswoman to
the mother of the Canadian Civil Rights Movement. Written and directed by the Charles Taylor Theatre Group. Thursday, November 22, 2018, 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm, The Spatz Theatre, 1855 Trollope Street, Halifax.
● Spoken Word Night will feature a mixture of local and regional poets, including Andre Fenton, Kanaar Bell, Allysa Flint, and Guyleigh Johnson. Poets will explore Viola’s legacy through their own experience and original pieces. Friday, November 23, 2018, 8:00 pm –
10:00 pm, The Local, 2037 Gottingen Street, Halifax.
● North End 10 Dollar Street Sale & Pop-Up Vendors Market will take place in North End Halifax featuring African Canadian vendors across the region, in recognition of Viola’s
entrepreneurial spirit and connection to the North End. Saturday, November 24, 2018, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, at various participating business locations in the North End district.
● Tribute Concert will feature award-winning performers from the African Nova Scotian community, including MAJE, Keonte Beals, and Cyndi Cain. Saturday, November 24, 2018, 8:00 pm – 12:00 am, Marquee Ballroom, 2037 Gottingen Street, Halifax.
● Viola Desmond Luncheon & Dedicated Sermon will be an opportunity for the North End community and guests to gather, chat, and share a meal in recognition of Viola’s achievements. An interdenominational service with St George’s Round Church and New Horizons Baptist Church will be held in honour of Viola Desmond. Sunday, November 25, 2018, 12:00 pm – 3:30 pm, Saint George’s Round Church, 2222 Brunswick Street, Halifax.
● History & Story Telling Piece will consist of a series of interviews and video recordings with those who knew Viola Desmond, so that people can get a deeper sense about who Viola was and what she means to her community. This will be screening at various locations during the multi-day event.

“We feel that the events being planned capture the spirit and essence of Viola Desmond and her connection to the North End”, says Patricia Cuttell-Busby, Executive Director at the North End Business Association (NEBA).

Viola Desmond’s stand against racial segregation in a New Glasgow theatre in 1946 was a seminal event for the Canadian Civil Rights Movement. Desmond’s high-profile fight against racism generated so much publicity that Nova Scotia was forced to throw out its segregation laws in 1954. All this happened nine years before Rosa Parks took action in the United States, making Viola Desmond not only a civil rights trailblazer in Canada, but throughout North America.

On November 19, 2018, the Bank of Canada will release a new 10 dollar note that will feature Viola Desmond, making her the first Canadian woman to be solely featured on Canadian currency.

“On behalf of the Bank of Canada I wish to commend the North End Business Association and its partner organizations for spearheading this Viola Desmond Celebration,” says, Monique LeBlanc, Regional Director (Currency), Bank of Canada. “As the new 10 dollar banknote begins to circulate across the country later this fall, all Canadians will be reminded of Viola Desmond’s
legacy, her stand against injustice, and the ongoing journey towards rights and social justice for all Canadians.”

Viola Desmond was born and raised in North End Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she also had a successful hair salon and beauty product business. Her connection to North End Halifax is represented on new 10 dollar bill, with a graphic map showing Gottingen and Agricola streets inthe 1950s.

Celebrate Viola is an opportunity to invite Halifax, Nova Scotia, Atlantic Canada, and the rest of the nation to Viola’s home community to commemorate her achievements. NEBA is proud to be working with several North End organizations and partners to launch this exciting celebration in
Viola’s honour.

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Source : Media Release

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