Nova Scotia appoints team to lead justice reform and drive anti-racist policy change in Nova Scotia


Members of the African Nova Scotian and Mi’kmaw communities will lead a new design team tasked with recommending policy changes aimed at dismantling systemic racism in the province.The 20-member team also includes police, academics, government officials and representatives of other marginalized groups, who will inspire their communities to make “fundamental change” to the province’s approach to public safety. .

“It’s important that we recognize that this is a complex issue,” said Shakira Weatherdon, team member and human rights trainer with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission. . “These are interwoven systems of oppression, but also intersecting experiences of oppression and inequality,” she said.

“I can’t wait to reflect and re-imagine what it means to be my brother’s keeper, my sister’s keeper in this province.

The new initiative was announced Tuesday, coupled with Premier McNeil’s apology for generations of systemic racism and discrimination imposed on blacks, Indigenous people and other people of color in Nova Scotia.

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Nova Scotia Premier Apologizes for Systemic Racism in Justice System

McNeil said the province’s justice system has let down many members of the public, who do not enjoy white privilege – especially white male privilege.

“For those of us of white privilege, white male privilege, and those of us who have been in positions of power, we have failed too long to embrace and respond to the call for change, because the justice system worked for us. , ” he said.

” I am sorry. On behalf of my ministers, my caucus, our government, we are sorry. We are sorry for the young Nova Scotians, adults, families and their ancestors who have been abandoned by racist institutions.

The apology – and the decision to take a new approach – comes after years of platitudes from those in power positions in Nova Scotia that have resulted in limited meaningful change for African Nova Scotians and Africans. other people of color.

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It comes nearly a year after the historic Halifax Regional Police apologized for the discriminatory application of street checks and other forms of systemic racism within the facility.

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The RCMP have still not apologized for their role in the practice, which has seen blacks arrested and questioned for information at a rate six times the rate of whites. Members of the black community reported that the practice is ongoing today.

Jacob MacIsaac, co-facilitator of the new design team, said “proof” of the Prime Minister’s apology will be found in the actions taken by those who make and enforce the law in the future.

While the independent team has no legal authority, its recommendations will be made public, and McNeil said future governments “will have to justify why they don’t act on it, quite frankly.”

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Community advocate and Game Changers 902 co-founder Kate Macdonald, who is also on the team, said complacency would be “literally deadly” for black people, which is why she is determined to participate.

“Transforming the police doesn’t really exist, it’s not about reform yet, because the police were born with racism as their backbone,” she told the crowd.

“We have to recreate something with a new spine, born from something else. I hope this process involves reparations and is restorative, as there is a lot of mistrust between the communities and the African Nova Scotia police and the justice system.

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The new team will carry out its work over the next 12 to 18 months.

Ses membres comprennent: Julia Cecchetto; Richard Derible; Jean Flynn; Winnie Grant; Emma Halpern; Wayn Hamilton; Crystal John; Jennifer Llewellyn; Kate Macdonald; Stephanie MacInnis-Langley; Jacob MacIsaac; Paula Marshall; Shelly Martin; Martin Morrison; Craig Smith; Dean Smith; Lindell Smith; Tony Smith; Tracey Taweel; Candace Thomas; et Weatherdon.

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