Premier Stephen McNeil proclaimed the International Decade for People of African Descent in Nova Scotia, today, May 8.
“Today, as government, we are reaffirming our commitment to take action to ensure all Nova Scotians are treated with dignity, equality and respect while having equitable access to opportunities in our province,” said Premier McNeil.
“I’ve said many times that Nova Scotians deserve to see themselves reflected in our institutions. We will continue working to make that a reality as we strive to be a leader in addressing systemic racism and discrimination, and ensure this is a province where no citizen is judged or held back because of who they are.”
The United Nations declared 2015-2024 as the International Decade for People of African Descent to strengthen global co-operation in support of people of African descent so they can enjoy social, cultural, political and civil rights for full inclusion in all aspects of society. The theme is recognition, justice and development.
“I am proud to stand here today, as the minister representing African Nova Scotians, to say we stand committed to responding to the United Nations’ call to work towards ensuring the full inclusion of people of African descent,” said Tony Ince, Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs. “As the birthplace of African Canadian heritage, Nova Scotia should play a leadership role in bringing people together to ensure all Nova Scotians are treated with dignity and respect while having equitable access to the opportunities our province has to offer.
“Today, as we proclaim the decade, we are taking another step forward to celebrate and acknowledge the people who helped shape our province.”
The Government of Nova Scotia, led by the Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs, is developing an action plan for the decade to further advance government’s work in addressing systemic racism and discrimination. The action plan will be launched later this year. The 2018-19 provincial budget committed an additional $710,000 to African Nova Scotia Affairs to help the office expand its important work support and to support the decade action plan. A significant portion of the new funding – $500,000 – will be spent directly in communities on programming and services. The funding will also be used to create two new Community Outreach positions.
“This event, and recognition, acknowledges the years of racism that persons of African descent have endured in Nova Scotia,” said Robert Ffrench, executive director at the Valley African Nova Scotian Development Association. “This proclamation sends a clear message that Nova Scotia is open to all people and our challenge is not only based in the past, but how we proceed moving forward together.”
To learn more about the decade visit http://www.un.org/en/events/africandescentdecade/ .