‘It’s about educating and enlightening’: New historic designations recognize Black history in Canada

Nova Scotia Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard, centre, is seen in this file photo. Bernard said four new national historic designations bring education, awareness and a sense of pride for people of African descent who don't often see themselves reflected in Canadian history.

Four elements of Black history have been deemed new national historic designations, contributing to the growing awareness of the stories and contributions of Black people in Canada. 

The federal government announced the new designations under the national program of historical commemoration on Friday. 

The designations include the enslavement of African people in Canada (1629-1834), Black Loyalist Richard Pierpoint (1744-1838), heavyweight boxer Larry Gains (1900-1983) and the West Indian Domestic Scheme (1955-1967). 

“This is a recognition of Black Canadians’ contributions to Canada and to our history. We’ve been here since the early 17th century, if not before, and unfortunately this story is not really told about Black Canadians and our contributions to Canada over the centuries,” said MP Greg Fergus, who is the chair of the Parliamentary Black Caucus. 

“And our stories are also not told in a flattering light, and I think this is just giving a better balance to a story that should be told.” 

Nadine Williams nominated the enslavement of African people in Canada as a designation, noting “it’s important that people know that (slavery) is a part of our history here as well.” 

She also nominated the West Indian Domestic Scheme, a targeted immigration program through which approximately 3,000 women from the Caribbean came to Canada to work as domestic servants. She said it’s “dear” to her because her late mother “worked as a domestic her whole life here in Canada.” after coming here from Jamaica.  

Williams decided to make the nominations back in late 2018 after doing research on the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024) — proclaimed by the United Nations — as part of an art installation project. She said she sought out a means to promote awareness of Black people’s “contributions to the fabric of Canada” and stumbled upon the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, which manages the national program of historical commemoration.  

“It’s about educating and enlightening. Our narrative of Black Canadians is scarce,” said Williams. 

She added that only a fraction of the designations under the national program of historical commemoration recognize Black history in Canada and “it’s not necessarily that there aren’t subjects to be nominated," but that people are not aware of boards that erect these designations.  

Nova Scotia Sen. Wanda Thomas Bernard echoed these remarks. 

“I think that nationally we could do more in terms of just creating awareness across the country about how you go about making these nominations, just making that process a bit more visible would be helpful,” she said. 

“How do you achieve a sense of pride and a sense of accomplishment from knowing that information if you don’t know that information?”  

Still, Bernard said the new designations are important and bring Canada "one step closer" to having Emancipation Day nationally recognized, having the history of slavery "firmly acknowledged" and taught as part of Canadian history, and give rise to the issue of reparations for people of African descent in Canada.  

She said she would also like to see George Dixon, a man from Africville who was both the first Black and the first Canadian-born world boxing champion, recognized, among other historical African Nova Scotian figures and events.  

Bernard encourages more Nova Scotians to nominate designations about important events and figures in the future. Bernard noted a lot of people in the province have been doing “anti-racism work on the ground” for generations, but should take time to “look for recognition of that work” and document it as well. 

“(These designations) bring education, they bring awareness and I hope they bring a sense of pride to people of African descent because we don’t often see ourselves reflected in history,” she said. 

Tim Krochak

North Preston rallies for equality, justice

The population of North Preston is greater than many towns in Nova Scotia but, unlike those towns, the most visible sign of government in the predominantly black community isn’t public services or amenities, but rather the constant presence of the RCMP.

On Saturday – Emancipation Day, marking the end of slavery in the British Empire on Aug. 1, 1834 – residents of North Preston, joined by friends and supporters from other parts of the province and beyond, rallied to protest the inequality and injustice they endure still.

Every African Nova Scotian there could relate personal experiences with systemic racism that deny them equality – equality of opportunity, equality in the eyes of the law, equal access to and treatment from their governments, who take their taxes but seem to return little. There isn’t a sidewalk anywhere in the community of 4,000.

Beside Saint Thomas Baptist Church, on the hill above the peaceful gathering, literally if not figuratively looking down on the protestors, sat two marked RCMP vehicles – a cruiser and a large SUV. The only danger in North Preston that day came from the too-hot August sun.

The Mounties themselves were approachable and courteous, but the constant surveillance seemed unnecessary, even oppressive.

The RCMP’s headquarters in North Preston was a child’s stone-throw from the rally. Yet the Mounties watched from on-high. The constant reminder of force in a community deprived of public resources bolstered the day’s central demand – defund the police and redirect the money to community services lacking in North Preston and communities like it.

Evangeline Downey, an organizer of Saturday’s event took the microphone and invited the Mounties to come down, join with the crowd and maybe take a knee to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Her invitation went unanswered.

"Many people don’t understand that defunding doesn’t mean elimination (of police) … but rather allocating the right amount of resources toward (community) improvement and solving problems," North Preston activist Denise Allen told the crowd of about 100 people.

The community traces its roots to the 18th century, when the American revolution brought Black Loyalists to Nova Scotia.

Yet to this day most of the families there don’t hold legal title to the land promised to their ancestors two centuries ago, and upon which their families have lived for generations.

In 2017, the province allocated $2.7 million to help settle the land titles and provide the people in North Preston and four other black Nova Scotian communities with deeds to their own property.

But the processes set up by the government to get to those deeds are arduous, complicated, bureaucratic and lengthy.

One case wound up before Supreme Court Justice Jamie Campbell because the province said the land in question – land that had been in Christopher Downey’s family since at least 1913 – hadn’t been occupied by Downey for 20 consecutive years. Christopher Downey lived for a time in Toronto but had moved home 19 years prior to the province rejecting his title claim.

Campbell lambasted the province for the arbitrary 20-year requirement, which exists nowhere in law.

Racism, the judge said, “is embedded within the systems that govern how our society operates. That is a fundamental historical fact and an observation of present reality."

The historical racism that denied Black settlers land titles that white settlers got automatically, has been replaced by systemic racism embedded in the processes and arbitrary decisions of the province.

Several of the speakers at the rally talked about keeping up the fight for the many children sprinkled throughout the crowd – so that they would know equality and justice.

Eddie Carvery was there with his son, grandson and great-grandson, each named Eddie Carvery. The eldest Eddie is famous, or infamous, depending on your perspective, for his refusal to leave the place he grew up, his ancestral home on the shores of Bedford Basin, Africville.

Africville was razed in the 1960s under the guise of urban renewal. The African Nova Scotians who lived there, and whose forebearers had settled there in the early 19th century, have never been compensated for the municipal land grab. The approaches to the MacKay Bridge over Halifax Harbour and the Fairview Cove container terminal occupy Africville lands.

The enduring injustice of Africville and the hopes for the next generation expressed by so many of Saturday’s speakers spoke to how long black Nova Scotians have been fighting for equality and justice.

“It's been a long, a long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come,” the late great Sam Cooke sang in 1964. A half-century later, it’s been that much longer.


Remembering The No.2 Construction Battalion 2020

Today we remember the No. 2 Construction Battalion, Canada first only all Black regimen in WWI. Each year an annual remembrance service is held in Pictou, Nova Scotia, at the historic location that these brave Men accepted the call in 1916.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we are unable gather this year to commemorate this important part of Canadian history. We felt it important that the memory and legacy of the No. 2 is remembered. We have put together some highlights from previous years to view.

Today we remember and salute those brave Men of the No. 2 who blazed the trail. (Black Cultural Centre)

Bernard challenges HRM councillors to make Black Lives Matter an engine for change (

Halifax regional councillors were challenged Tuesday to reflect on how they benefit from the same system that oppresses others. 

“How will you use your privilege to lead change?” Sen. Wanda Thomas Bernard asked councillors at the completion of her 30-minute Unpacking Anti-Black Racism presentation.

“Own the privilege, don’t apologize for the privilege, it is what it is, but how you use it is what’s really important,” Bernard said. “How will you integrate an anti-Black racism lens to your work ... How will you help the Black Lives Matter moment become a movement for change. 

“Young people, older people, people of all races are out there protesting and have been protesting for weeks now, fighting for change. How will you help them make this a real movement that will lead to sustainable change in HRM?”

Bernard, 66, an accomplished social worker, educator, researcher and community activist who grew up in East Preston, told council that there has been a recent collision of dual pandemics -- COVID-19 and racism.

Feeling mistrustful

“We wanted to know how people were coping because we know the collision of the pandemics was having an impact,” Bernard said of a recent province-wide check-in for African Nova Scotians completed by the Office of African Nova Scotia Affairs and other groups.

“People talked about feeling mistrustful, finding it hard to even articulate how difficult and challenging this is, the trauma, the violence, the racism online, even though we weren’t out in the public for months, people were still experiencing this racism online. People talked about feeling exhausted, being challenged every single day, feeling alone and feeling tired and fearful but also experiencing backlash. These are real words from Black Nova Scotians about the trauma of racism they are experiencing in their everyday lives.

“But yet we survive, yet we keep going, keep fighting and keep moving forward.”

"There are other times when I have this nagging doubt that creeps in and says once COVID is over and people go back to life as ‘normal,’ we’re going to be pushed to the back of the bus again. We won’t really matter as much as we matter right now."

Sen. Wanda Thomas Bernard

Bernard said the Black Lives Matter movement, punctuated by the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers in May, has been a tipping point.

“Now we have people around the world speaking out about the pandemic of … anti-Black racism,” Bernard said. “COVID-19 really highlighted the disparities.”

Bernard said the health pandemic has amplified disparities witnessed in every sector, from education to work places.

The senator said she always tries to remain hopeful that change is coming but she regularly falls victim to doubts.

“There are other times when I have this nagging doubt that creeps in and says once COVID is over and people go back to life as ‘normal,’ we’re going to be pushed to the back of the bus again,” she said. “We won’t really matter as much as we matter right now. But what gives me hope when I have those doubts are things like this -- your HRM council doing this special presentation on anti-Black racism and looking at ways that you can really move forward to sustainable change.”

Jacques Dube, the chief administrative officer for the municipality, said a staff committee on anti-Black racism is putting the finishing touches on a report and action plan to bring forward to council.

Dube said the implemented action plan will cover all municipal employees and enforce zero tolerance toward anti-Black racism.

A history of racism

Bernard began her presentation by talking about the history of African Nova Scotians, including the existence of slavery as part of the province’s economy and the existence of legally segregated schools in Nova Scotia up until the 1950s and the de facto segregation that has continued since then.

“It would not surprise me to know that many of you don’t know much about the history of African people in Nova Scotia because the history isn’t taught in schools,” Bernard said. “We need to understand the legacies of the historical anti-Black racism live on today through current policies and current practices.”

Blatant acts of racism, being undervalued and criminalization, “being stopped for driving while Black, walking while Black, driving a bicycle while Black,” all add to extra stress in Black lives.

“Black Canadians are victims and survivors of post-traumatic stress related to racism,” Bernard said, although it is not recognized in mental-health diagnoses.

“To keep doing what you are doing every day despite all the stress that comes from living while Black in this country, in this city, you are surviving, but surviving at what cost. The sites of oppression are everywhere, racism happens everywhere, in our neighbourhoods, in our workplaces, in businesses that we have to frequent if we want to survive in this world.”

The impact is a toll on the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and community health of Black Haligonians and Nova Scotians, she said.

Bernard lauded the municipality for taking progressive steps and for apologies for the Africville relocation and to the Black community by the police chief for historic racism and street checks. 

“I would encourage you when you are revisiting what you have already done, do that with a gap analysis and look at what still needs to be done,” she said.

Coun. Lindell Smith (Halifax Peninsula North), the lone African Nova Scotian voice on council, asked Bernard about the term All Lives Matter being offered as a response to the Black Lives Matter movement.

“When I hear the term All Lives Matter, it can almost set me into a bit of rage,” Bernard said. “It’s dismissing the reality, the need that is being spoken when people have to take to the streets to talk about the fact that Black Lives Matter, it means that we recognize full stop that those lives aren’t being taken seriously.

“For someone to say that all lives matter, it means they don’t understand it. They are not willing to see it, they are dismissing our reality.

“People are not protesting for the sake of protesting. They are looking at their elders, and yes, I am one of those, and they are saying ‘your methods haven’t worked well enough, your methods haven’t worked fast enough, your methods haven’t led to the fundamental change for the critical mass of our people.’”

Bernard said that message from young people tells her she has to push harder and do more because “people are putting themselves at risk to let the world know that Black lives matter.”

African-Canadian Business Executive Writes To His Community About The Impacts Of COVID-19 And Anti-Black Racism

Dear Community:

I dedicate this letter to you, the citizens of the African Diaspora, and all those, who are suffering disproportionately, from the impacts of COVID-19 and anti-Black racism.

While it is difficult for many of us to see our way clear, during these uncertain times, I want to remind you of a few things, and provide insight into some key areas of community capacity-building.

My people, we are of uniquely strong stock. We have physically, mentally and spiritually endured the most egregious acts, ever inflicted on humankind.

From the invasion of Mother Africa, to colonization; from the trans-Atlantic slave trade experience, to the permanent separation from our loved ones; from the loss of language and the fragmentation of our traditions, to the subconscious adoption of the crabs-in-a-bucket mentality.

Through all of this and more, we have endured, and demonstrated, an unmatched resilience.

But that is not enough. It is now time to transition from resilience to brilliance.

Statistics show that COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting us, due to pre-existing health and social conditions. So what is the takeaway from the data? How do we process this knowledge, and what do we learn from it?

Let’s talk solutions.

We may never be accepted, or respected, by the incumbent society, so what can we do, internally, that will render us truly independent of the need for external validation?

Education is a long-term solution that all but guarantees upward mobility. I am not referring to the Eurocentric education that damages our self-esteem, but an education that combines STEM (science, technologies, engineering and mathematics) with culturally-sensitive learning that includes a cross-section of culturally-aligned Africentric liberal arts. This pedagogy should be made available, and accessible, even if students are e-schooled, during the week and on Saturdays.

Community Trust Fund development will reduce the need to venture outside of our own community, to access the funds, required to start and scale-up businesses. It will allow for strategic investment in social programs, enhanced education and scholarships, which in turn, will fortify community advancement and social values. An ongoing and increasing investment in technological literacy and innovation will foster increased community confidence and new business ideas. Last, but not least, community investment in stocks, real estate, and promising young minds, will move communities forward, at a faster rate, with infinite growth.

Then, and only then, will we, as Robert Nester Marley implores, “emancipate ourselves from mental slavery”, and recognize that “none, but ourselves, can free our minds”.

Parenting, and in particular, fatherlessness, is an area of deep concern that has been plaguing Black communities, throughout the Diaspora, for generations. Colonization has systemically emasculated the Black man, and diminished his value in the eyes of Black women and children. The resulting impact has been generations of girls and boys, who grow up unbalanced, and unprepared, for adulthood and the real world.

My proposed solution is, to establish a more intentional community parenting model, where parental figures are assigned to provide moral, ethical and social support to families, in need of parental mentorship.

Economic Strategy is something the Black community has never applied as a collective. Our value to the dominant populations of the ECO-6 countries (countries with a critical mass, but not dominant populations of Black people) is disproportionately high, due to a number of contributing factors.

To be specific, “spending like there is no tomorrow” is a manifestation, aligned with the absence of promise. Similarly, spending, outside of our own community, is a manifestation of the lack of trust in our own people. Widespread, silo-ed behaviour is also a by-product of the colonized experience, and is derived from a confluence of factors, including: the thousands of languages spoken and streams of faith practiced amongst Africans, captured during slavery. This caused an individualism that was compounded by the ‘colonizers’ most effective strategy, which was to foster infighting and the ‘every man for himself’ mentality.

In order to gain the attention of corporate North America, we must recognize the areas, in which it is dependent upon us, and leverage that patronage against anti-Black racism. For example, if we were to collectively identify the major corporations that have a high dependency on the Black dollar, and advise them that we have decided to boycott their businesses and spend those funds with their biggest competitors indefinitely, they would be forced to advocate with the incumbent government for the implementation of policies that lead to economic parity, educational attainment, police accountability and social inclusion.

Finally, with respect to economic strategy, there must be an internal employment and entrepreneurial strategy. This would require intentional encouragement of elementary school students to pursue specific career paths that align with their interests, personality traits and skill sets, and contribute to moving the entire community and race forward.

Mental Health concerns are far more prevalent than we, as Black people, are aware; but there is growing appreciation for the need to understand and address the issue. PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) are disproportionately more common in colonized countries, where people of African descent reside.

In fact, murder rates, per capita, are much higher in almost all of these very same countries. Addressing mental health wellness will reduce criminal tendencies, and address the symptoms and impacts, associated with a damaged cerebral frontal cortex.

Politics and Leadership are the mechanisms of transformative and holistic change. While the Black community is working, internally, to prepare for true inclusion, politicians and leaders have to be prepared as well. This, coupled with civic engagement, will increase the rate of change on a broad societal level.

The Final Step on this journey, is to inspire and reignite Black pride and a sense of belonging to Africa in all Black people. Every Black child and descendent of slavery should have the opportunity to visit Africa and witness its vast array of dynamism — from rural to industrial, historical to “Wakanda”.

Then, and only then, will a true sense of belonging flow through our veins. Then, and only then, will we, as Robert Nester Marley implores, “emancipate ourselves from mental slavery”, and recognize that “none, but ourselves, can free our minds”.

With undying love,
Farley Flex,

Racism makes life a constant struggle for Black Canadians

Michaëlle Jean was governor-general of Canada, UNESCO special envoy for Haiti and secretary-general of La Francophonie.

Of all the scourges afflicting humanity, the most devastating and recurrent is racism. Largely propelled by the ideological belief in the supremacy of a “white race," this infamy was forged in the fire and fury of colonial conquest, a true calamity inflicted around the globe.

For centuries, colonialism feasted on the odious practice of mass enslavement of its conquered peoples, Black and Indigenous, deemed inferior, deprived of their humanity, robbed of their freedom, reduced to beasts of burden. A doctrine of radical domination decreed by European metropolises and monarchies led to the swift and bloody takeover and exploitation of whole territories and continents, in the so-called discovery of lands already inhabited. From a history of total dehumanization – profitable and well ordered as it was, allowing powerful empires to capture the wealth of the world – humanity did not emerge unscathed. Racism still rages on in a “systemic” way. And there comes the offending word, systemic. But what does it mean?

It’s in these demeaning behaviours, prejudices, attitudes, slurs and jibes. It’s in the harassment and unwarranted ethnic profiling. It’s in the distressing insinuations and putdowns, the idiotic remarks. It’s in these institutional and administrative policies, these decision-making and screening processes that exclude sections of the population, women, men, young people, because of their ethnic origin or the colour of their skin. To be Black, Indigenous or from other racialized groups is a constant struggle.

To us, racism feels like a succession of painful stings. It is never trivial, never harmless. It can be unwitting, but it always reeks of a history that suffocates our communities, like the cruel, forceful knee pressed against the neck of George Floyd in the violent and inhuman police intervention we saw in Minneapolis. The scene was filmed, the whole world was watching, but the act committed that day is just one in an unending string of deaths in policy custody. “This is the latest in a long line of killings of unarmed African-Americans by U.S. police officers and members of the public,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, my friend Michelle Bachelet, said in a strong statement calling for justice. But this is not just a U.S. affair. Covert racism is a creeping, multiheaded monster, a hydra coiled up in every society, perpetuating the legacy of hatred.

“We all watch in horror and consternation what’s going on in the United States,” the Prime Minister of Canada said. “It is a time for us as Canadians to recognize that we, too, have our challenges. That Black Canadians and racialized Canadians face discrimination as a lived reality every single day. There is systemic discrimination in Canada, which means our systems treat Canadians of colour, Canadians who are racialized, differently than they do others.”

As evidence of this, look to the thousands of Canadians, especially young people of all origins and colours, who have taken to the streets in recent days in many cities across Canada and around the world. Hear their chants: “Black Lives Matter! Our lives matter, too!” along with George Floyd’s last words, “I can’t breathe!” Because indeed, the air has become unbreathable with hatred of the other.

At the most recent National Black Canadians Summit, organized by the Michaëlle Jean Foundation, hundreds of participants came to share and discuss the devastating impact of racism on their lives, their physical and mental health, their safety, their present and their future, but most importantly to devise and demand a national action plan aimed at eradicating systemic racial discrimination across Canada. Connected to the United Nations’ International Decade of People of African Descent, the event draws attention to the fact that exclusion only creates gaping chasms, with monstrous deficits in participation, trust, growth, ideas, energy, perspectives, justice and democracy. The figures are stark and eloquent. How many studies, investigations, claims, testimonies have given us the facts! Here again, reckless indifference, neglect, inertia and denial out of vain complacency lead us straight into the greatest danger zone.

Let us remember that here, too, as in other countries, our past and present are interspersed with ethnic conflict and racial injustice. The Ku Klux Klan had bases in Canada, as did other fascist and Nazi organizations.

To this day, our country is not immune to extreme xenophobic movements whose voices find sympathetic resonance, including within certain political parties. It’s a global phenomenon and it calls for the utmost vigilance.

The current crisis sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore the glaring inequalities generated by exclusion. We now see clearly how the most vulnerable communities, Black communities in this instance, are more strongly affected by the pandemic and its collateral damage.

Here again, we must open our eyes, act collectively and responsibly alongside those who are resisting on the front lines, the civil society organizations that spare no effort to counter the effects of exclusion, while striving to promote a genuine awareness of realities on the ground and their indispensable solutions.


We hear you. We see you. We’re listening to you.⁣

We stand in solidarity with our Black colleagues, collaborators and community in the fight against racism, violence and injustice. We are committed to taking actions to create tangible change for the Black community.⁣

We are committed to launching a range of bandages in light, medium and deep shades of Brown and Black skin tones that embrace the beauty of diverse skin. We are dedicated to inclusivity and providing the best healing solutions, better representing you.⁣

In addition, we will be making a donation to@blklivesmatter. We promise that this is just the first amoung many steps together in the fight against systemic racism.

Recognizing history of Black nurses a first step to addressing racism and discrimination in nursing

Keisha Jefferies PhD Candidate, Nursing, Dalhousie University

During the coronavirus pandemic, nurses are among the nation’s front-line workers. Over the years and to this day, the contributions of Black nurses are hard-fought, unrecognized and under-appreciated.

Nurses are essential in care delivery, policy directives and in shaping the health-care system. The year 2020 is the year of the nurse and midwife. Yet, Canada’s history of racism and segregation has contributed to residual anti-Black racism that remains present in Canadian nursing. Nursing, as a profession, was established on Victorian ideals of “true womanhood”, including notions of dignity, purity, morality and virtue. Think: white caps and pristine white smocks.

Historically, people who did not meet these “ideals” were prevented from practising nursing. It was believed that Black women did not possess these ideals of “true womanhood” and in turn, were prevented from pursuing nursing as a career. Many of these unconscious biases and stereotypes about nursing are still believed today, with evidence showing that the exclusion of Black folks and anti-Black practices persist in nursing.

Beginning with oppression

In Canada, the first nursing training facility opened in 1874 in Ontario. The first baccalaureate nursing program started in 1919 at the University of British Columbia.

Moving Beyond Borders, Karen Flynn’s 2011 account of the racial segregation in Canadian nursing, vividly describes the experiences of Canada’s earliest Black nurses.

As Flynn notes, Black folks were not permitted to attend nursing programs. Instead, prospective Black nurses in Canada were told to go to the United States. American schools began allowing Black folks into nursing in the 1870s while Canada continued to restrict admissions to Black folks until the 1940s, granting admission only after pressure from community groups and organizations.

Ruth Bailey and Gwennyth Barton were the first Black nurses to earn a nursing diploma in Canada from the Grace Maternity School of Nursing in Halifax, graduating in 1948 — almost three-quarters of a century after the first school opened.

Black nurses in Canada

Overall, Black nurses are largely absent from leadership positions and specialty practice areas such as intensive care. Instead, Black nurses are often streamlined into areas that are more physically demanding and strenuous. At the same time, Black people are concentrated in entry-level positions, non-specialty roles or in non-licensed clinical roles such as personal care workers. Beyond physical challenges and visibility, Black nurses are subjected to micro-agressions and racism from patients, colleagues and superiors.

Gender and class have a substantial impact on Black women nurses with the nursing profession having successfully racialized gender and class discrimination. Men who enter nursing usually ride the glass escalator: leadership, higher wages and other substantial advantages. It’s a marked contrast to Black women who do not encounter a glass ceiling but rather they hit a concrete wall from simultaneous racism and sexism; their existence is invisible, yet their mistakes and flaws are amplified.

Unlike their white male colleagues, Black nurses are less likely to be in leadership roles or to receive higher wages. 

Racism reinforced through nursing education

In 2013, I proudly graduated from a nursing program with more than 10 Black soon-to-be nurses. At that time, there were designated seats for qualified Black applicants resulting in a 100 per cent increase in enrollment for Black students. After the removal of these designated seats, the program now graduates far fewer Black nurses each year. I hear similar findings from nursing graduates at other universities. Yet, despite evidence regarding inequity amongst faculty appointments in universities, most Canadian institutions do not collect nor publish race-disaggregated data related to the student population.

Multiple barriers limit access to post-secondary education for Black students. However, issues within nursing education go beyond admissions. Considering what is taught in nursing school, we see stark examples of anti-Black racism embedded within a curriculum that not only reinforces the invisibility of Black nurses but also exacerbates health inequities.

What is taught is largely void of the contributions to nursing made by Black pioneers. For example, nurses are not taught about Bernice Redmon, who was refused admissions to Canadian nursing programs, trained in Virginia before returning to Canada in 1945. Redmon became the first Black nurse appointed to the Victorian Order of Nurses in Canada.

The nursing curriculum continues to be riddled with colonial, anti-Black, hetero-normative and hegemonic content. For most of nursing’s history, aspiring nurses have been taught how to care for white, straight and gender-binary patients. If this is not you, even a routine hair, skin or health history assessment can pose a challenge.

Black nurses are still trained to work with white patients in mind, posing a challenge for attending to many racialized patients’ needs. 

Anti-Black racism in nursing is detrimental to Black nurses and to the health of all Canadians, especially since Black folks suffer from high rates of chronic illnesses including diabetes, high blood pressure and mental illness. These health inequities are worsened by an undertone of mistrust towards a health-care system that does not have health-care workers who look like you nor who understand your health needs — leading to misdiagnosed or under treated conditions.

Towards an anti-racist profession

There are successful initiatives in place. The Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto has made great strides in combating anti-Black racism through the Black applicant stream and the collection of race-disaggregated data.

At the Dalhousie Schulich School of Law, a successful program established in 1989 has increase the representation of indigenous Black and Mi’kmaq students in the legal profession. Select universities, like Dalhousie, offer entrance scholarships for Black students as a means to alleviate financial barriers. Nursing can learn from these bold, innovative ideas and work towards adopting anti-racist frameworks in education and practice. This begins by actively recognizing, appreciating and celebrating Black nurses and their contributions in nursing. Despite the persistence of anti-Blackness in society, nursing education and health care, Black nurses continue to provide care. Now, more than ever, we must recognize and celebrate their contributions.

VANSDA names Honorary Legacy Members

  From l to r Dr. Geraldine Browning (Board Chair) Dr. Rudy Ffrench, Beverly Johnson, Rita Jardine, Catherine Tolbert, Dennis Jackson, Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard   The Valley African Nova Scotian Development Association (VANSDA) recently held the 20th Annual General Meeting of the organization. With Special Guest, Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard and drumming provided by the Imani Youth Drummers under the leadership of Lawrence Parker, the function highlight was the naming of 6 Honorary Legacy Board Members. These individuals have contributed to the organization growth and management for 25 years while also maintaining roles and providing expertise to other organizations and groups in Nova Scotia. In recognition of their commitment to the VANSDA organization each was presented with a personal Kente Cloth stole recognizing their status as Elders within the African Nova Scotian community of the Annapolis Valley. Board members named for 2019/ 20 are Craig Gibson, Bev Greenlaw, Sheldon States, Bette Salsman, Claudine Bonner, Devon Adams, Mark Riley, Leonard Omwenga, Dr. Geraldine Browning

Count Us In: Nova Scotia’s Action Plan in Response to the International Decade for People of African Descent, 2015-2024

On September 19th, Nova Scotia launched an action plan in response to the United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent. Count Us In: Nova Scotia’s Action Plan in Response to the International Decade for People of African Descent, 2015-2024 is our guiding document providing government with specific actions and priorities to help eliminate the many challenges facing African Nova Scotians.  It reflects work underway and creates new opportunities. Count Us In will help government departments, organizations and the community work together to advance this work. The actions are categorized under the three pillars identified by the United Nations which are: - Recognition - Justice - Development Count Us In works in concert with Nova Scotia’s Culture Action Plan: Creativity and Community, which states, “all cultures can uplift and inspire and can also disappoint and betray. Nova Scotia is no different. To this day, long-standing prejudices have devastating social and economic echoes and impacts, particularly in our African Nova Scotian community.” To read the full plan, visit: To read the news release, visit:

Thandiwe McCarthy: The darkest lesson – my education history “Don’t worry about him, class, he will never be anyone anyway” spoken by the Principal of Montgomery elementary school moments before I fell asleep in class “The best job you can hope for is a plumber” — grumbled the Science teacher at Nashwaaksis middle school while handing back a test I failed “I will only let you pass this class if you sign this document (written in pencil that said I’ll never take another art class) and promise me you will never try any of these skills again” — whispered an Art teacher at Leo Hayes high school after class when I asked what I could do to pass their class. As a black child going through the New Brunswick education system, I was taught some valuable lessons. These informal teachings were sharpened at every grade level, reinforced by routine experiences with faculty and other students. I’ve had students spit on me, bullies call me racial slurs, teachers accuse me of making everything up, and friends supporting me by saying “you don’t even act black why would they say that”. In the hallways I was given no personal space, people would casually grab fistfuls of my hair while commenting to their friend about the texture then thanking me while walking off and laughing like they won a bet. I have seen students throw things at teachers and get warnings then turn around and kick me out of class for whispers. I’ve sat through entire classes while people filled my hair with pieces of paper thrown from across the room while the teacher did nothing despite my repeated attempts to ask for help. I’ve been kicked out of classes for disturbing the learning environment after telling my bullies to leave me alone. I never smoked, drank, fought, or swore in school. The biggest crimes I ever committed in school were consistently asking why my actions received the maximum punishment. Other students always got warnings. Almost everyone else received the benefit of the doubt. Me? I only received commands to obey and punishments for asking how I ended up in this situation. “you know what you did” a common tactic thrown down from the gods to judge me guilty without any hope of innocence. No one ever explained anything to me, I was always ordered. I never got the chance to be a student because all the teachers viewed me as a threat.After graduating late from grade school, I was professionally diagnosed with multiple learning disabilities. My life became visits to different doctors all prescribing me chronic mental health conditions and pills to help said conditions. Many years after my K-12 experience was spent on government social assistance and going to weekly therapy sessions to working on my self-esteem. Struggling mentally with being someone who loves to read but is terrified of learning. Battling socially with a person inside who lives to help others but gets stress headaches from sharing opinions, never able to see value in themselves. All because for more than 12 years of my life, the people paid to motivate me to dream decided instead to poison my ambition. Even writing this feels like peeling scabs off my soul. Trapped in my choice to embrace my life I find myself forced to rip down these disgusting layers of emotional damage. Gripping the warm burnt omelette substance with both hands as I choose to relive all these memories. Questioning everything I’ve done as I tear sheet after massive sheet that’s been cocooned around the me I’ve been so ashamed of. The weirdest part of all this? I thought it was normal. That this was the regular New Brunswick educational experience. This is just what school is like and apparently, it just wasn’t for people like me. And then I read ‘ You Must Be a Basketball Player: Rethinking Integration in the University’ by Anthony Stewart and my whole world shattered. Here was a Black professor who lived in a city just 5 hours away who wrote and published a book on the exact same experiences I’ve had. Experiences he is still having as a grown man in a position of prestige gained from hard work and focus. This novel brought me to tears because it taught me something that every single teacher in grade school tried to ignore. That being black is a different human experience. That I wasn’t crazy, I’m not stupid, I’m not worthless, and I’m not all the horrible things these adults with respectable careers in charge of our children’s personalities told me I was. That a black man can even go through all these things and still actually be successful. I am so happy to know that this isn’t just my experience, that its normal. I know it’s a dark thing to celebrate but I have lived 32 years being told by people who ‘don’t see colour’ that I am not aggressive enough to be black while also claiming that I speak like a white person. I’ve never been able to be myself, every trait I’ve ever shown has been labelled as both black and white. My every experience with being black in Canada has been met with, marked by, and presented as, not normal. All my actions are filtered through and measured against what peoples perceived definition of black culture is. But that’s okay because now I know that it’s normal. Now I know that the real students in those schools I attended where the teachers and they too were just learning something new. I wasn’t hated, and I’m not an ‘other’. And I would like to thank the university professor for responding to my random email about finding my black identity. This professor I’ve never met and from another department, replied to this random student’s email with grace and respect. Offering me many excellent educational sources to start my journey into being Thandiwe. One of the resources was this book, and it is no exaggeration to say it has changed my life. So I would like to end this post by thanking the professor who went out of their way to help a student learn not a subject worth marks…but learn how to be themselves. I am proud to say that they are one of many teachers I’ve met in post-secondary education who have been positive influences in my life. Finally, I can say without shame, I love learning.

Sehkahnee Reynolds organized event to help younger generation pick their role models

Sehkahnee Reynolds organized event to help younger generation pick their role models
Ascension Barbershop in Wolfville, N.S., is usually closed on Sundays, but on this Sunday, for one day only, the doors were wide open to boys, fathers and grandfathers. Some of it was about about haircuts, but there was more to it than that.
If the boys read a book, or a chapter, they received a haircut. If fathers and grandfathers engaged in a discussion led by role models, they could get 50 per cent off a haircut.
"This is all about mentoring the minorities and the younger generation to help them understand how to pick their role models," said Sehkahnee Reynolds, a barber who is also involved with the Valley African Nova Scotian Development Association. Reynolds, a graduate of Acadia University and a former member of the university's football team, said the barbershop is a great place for healthy discussions. "A barbershop, that's where people go to talk and vent and just be themselves and have a real conversation. Bringing kids here, it invites them to be themselves, be open," said Reynolds. Reynolds said he's observed that many boys tend to choose their role models from people they see on television. He said he hopes this event will show there are real-life role models locally. "When you're able to say, 'I'm a real person, I did this, I'm the first one in my family to go to university and graduate.' With me doing that, that kicked down the doors for my family members who were looking up to me," he said. Dozens of books were laid out on a pool table near the front of the barbershop. Before a boy could get his hair cut, he had to choose a book from the table. Elijah Cromwell, 17, travelled from Canning, N.S., for his haircut. He was the first to arrive. "When I came, it felt like family, it felt like home," Cromwell said. "I could just come in, learn some things here and some life skills, how to be successful and just be educated, you know? You don't have to do bad stuff to be successful." As he was cutting eight-year-old Xavier States's hair, Arrien McDonald read the book, Let's Go For a Drive, with him. States said he enjoyed his experience at the barbershop. "When he blow-dried my hair, it kind of tickled," States said. Tamara Kettle, Xavier's mother, travelled to Ascension from Windsor, N.S., along with her other two sons. She said she liked how the event promoted reading. "I actually think it's a good cause," she said. "I think it's nice of them to do this — it's my first time here. I'm not too familiar with any of the guys here but we'll probably come back after this." Reynolds said he wants boys to leave the barbershop feeling encouraged. "You give yourself, give it all, then there's nothing you can't do.

Sharing hope at Easter: Save Me Save We hosts community feast in Wolfville

Kirk Starratt 
Empowering people to help themselves means instilling a greater ability to help others. Save Me Save We founder Junior Moaku, a fourth-year business student and Acadia University basketball player, takes this to heart. He spent a week canvassing Wolfville area businesses and families for food and monetary donations so that he and a team of volunteers could stage the first Save Me Save We Easter Feast. The dinner - put on by the community for the community - was held at the Wolfville Farmers Market on April 20. Up to 100 community members had an opportunity to enjoy a free turkey and chicken dinner. Donations in support of the Open Arms mission were collected at the door, with donors having their names entered into a prize raffle. When asked what he thought about the level of support from donors and volunteers, Moaku said it was “honestly unbelievable.” “I am so grateful and thankful for people to take time out of their Easter weekend and come and help,” he said. “Easter’s always been one of my favourite holidays because of hope and new beginnings.” He said getting to know neighbours was a theme of the dinner and he hoped that community members enjoying the meal would feel that they are part of something. SAVE ME SAVE WE Save Me Save We was created to provide a supportive community for mental health advocates and survivors. It stands for peace, passion and compassion and prides itself on quality service, education and social responsibilities. Its mission is to bring awareness to and to destigmatize misconceptions surrounding mental illness and to improve mental health literacy and proficiency. Moaku, who is originally from Hamilton, Ontario, said he saw several of his teammates and classmates struggling with mental health concerns. He grew up with friends and family members affected by mental health issues and could recognize some of the symptoms. Some of his friends didn’t want to talk about it, so Moaku envisaged a network of non-verbal advocates who people could approach and feel comfortable talking to about their concerns. Moaku came up with the name Save Me Save We and established a logo showing a brain inside a heart that is easily identifiable and represents mental well-being. He said the movement has been growing since. Moaku started selling Save Me Save We t-shirts with a percentage from every sale supporting a local clinic or mental health agency, including the Kings County branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association. He then decided that they should be doing more. “It’s about mental health literacy,” he said. “People need to be educated on what mental health really is.” Working as a camp counsellor last summer, he saw that a lot of children have anger issues. Many felt lonely but Moaku could see that they were really pushing other kids away. This was the genesis for a program where Save Me Save We visits elementary and high schools, delivering presentations to equip young students with “emotional First Aid tools.” This involves teaching kids the difference between daily stress and chronic stress and between being alone and loneliness, for example. The purpose is to teach them how to better recognize and manage mental health concerns later in life. “If they can help themselves, then they can help others, which is even better,” Moaku said. YOUNG PEOPLE TAKING ACTION Open Arms executive director John Andrew said it’s great to see young people and student athletes such as Moaku and Boys 2 Men Mentoring founder Sehkahnee Reynolds – a former Acadia football player - using their platforms to be blessings to others. Andrew said that perhaps loneliness is the “greatest poverty of all.” He called on those in attendance at the dinner to treat each other as family. Reynolds said his initiative currently involves mentoring boys but he plans to expand it to include girls. He said it’s about being like a big brother to kids who don’t have a positive influence like that in their lives. Andrew said a lack of positive male influences is a common factor when it comes to young men in particular falling through the cracks of society.

Now or Never Five years later: Province making progress on 10 of 19 Ivany goals

In 2014, Ray Ivany told Nova Scotians it was time to act — now or never. Five years later, the results show the province is making progress on 10 of the 19 goals outlined in the report.
The tracking website says Nova Scotia is gaining ground on more than half of the key areas:
  • Inter-provincial migration
  • International migration
  • Retention of international students
  • Youth employment
  • Post-secondary education and training
  • Research and development partnerships
  • Venture capital
  • Tourism expansion
  • Fisheries and agriculture exports
The province is listed as not progressing on nine areas:
  • New business startups
  • Value of exports
  • Firms participating in export trade
  • Labour-force participation rate
  • Employment rate for African Nova Scotians
  • Post-secondary education research and development
  • Domestic market for agriculture
  • Municipal stability
  • Net debt to GDP
Don Bureaux is President of the Nova Scotia Community College and the convener of the One N.S. website. He says it’s important to remember that the report was written for Nova Scotians, not the government. “This is something that we have to be committed to for the long term, so therefore over the long term we’re going to see changes.” He credits programs like EduNova’s Study and Stay with keeping more international students in the province after graduation. The program, and others, connects the students to suitable companies while they are studying, which can often lead to employment after graduation. “There’s an increased realization that there’s a skill set that international students bring to the workplace that’s invaluable,” he says. “That cultural competency, those international connections, those worldly views.” It also helps that a shortage of qualified workers remains one of the biggest concerns for businesses in Nova Scotia. “When you ask business leaders what keeps them up at night, it’s will they have access to the human capital they require to allow their businesses to prosper in the economy of tomorrow,” Bureaux says. He thinks the province’s universities and colleges can do more to focus on getting more African Nova Scotians and Mi’kmaq Nova Scotians into the workforce. As a parallel, he points to the Women Unlimited program. It gathered women interested in jobs like welding and gave them a 14-week tour of the different trades. They could then apply to study their chosen trade and many ended up working at the Irving Shipyard. “We need to meet learners where they are, help reduce barriers, and provide clear pathways to employment,” says Bureaux. “That will increase that labour-force participation in the future.” Bureaux says the education sector can help drive up the new-business startup figures, too. He thinks the question should switch from focusing on what field you want to innovate in, to what type of innovator you want to be. “What type of entrepreneur do you want to be? That’s rooted in the belief that all of us have an entrepreneurial spirit in us,” he says. He sees students use that approach to become social entrepreneurs driving community development. He thinks focusing on the self-starting mindset of an entrepreneur will eventually lead to more new businesses in Nova Scotia. Bernie Miller, the Deputy Minister of Business, says one of the biggest successes of the first five years is also one of the hardest to achieve: population growth. For generations, Nova Scotia shrunk with a net outflow of about 2,000 people a year. Since 2015, it’s steadily increased — and Miller says Nova Scotians aren’t having more babies or cheating death. “It was a very definitive focus on immigration and the creation of new immigration streams,” Miller says. “There was a focus on reversing youth outmigration.” He credits programs like Graduate to Opportunity, Innovate to Opportunity and the Connector programs in Halifax and Cape Breton. All connect people to work, and that’s a strong factor in attracting and retaining new Nova Scotians. And he takes a more positive account of exports not increasing in value. “In fact, Nova Scotia led the country in export growth,” Miller says. The numbers don’t reflect that because the big offshore oil-and-gas sector has struggled, while there’s been a 44 per cent growth in non-energy exports. That’s things like fisheries, agriculture and manufactured goods like tires. “The province has experienced steady GDP growth since the Ivany report with a real GDP growth rate of 1.5 per cent last year,” he says. “Nova Scotia’s trade is diversifying, with about 11 per cent of our exports now going to China. Tourism growth has been record-setting.” For business start ups, high-growth companies (defined as 20 per cent employment increase or 20 per cent revenue growth) have created about 6,500 new jobs. “The data is lagging. It isn’t capturing the more vibrant high-growth startups that are creating lots of opportunity,” he says. He adds that the province has had a string of balanced budgets and “is tracking to” the Ivany target of a debt-to-GDP ratio of 30 per cent. The province’s credit was recently upgraded to AA-, the best in Atlantic Canada. Like Bureaux, Miller wants to see more African Nova Scotians and Mi’kmaq Nova Scotians getting better jobs. “More targeted approaches, more targeted policies. I think employers could have an impact,” he says. Many of those jobs could come in the growing Oceans supercluster, information and communication technology and entrepreneurship. “The biggest change is that the province and participants in the economy seem to have a new focus on areas of competitive advantage.” He says venture capital investment has risen by 323 per cent in the last five years. “The government just lowered the cost to incorporate, so Nova Scotia has the lowest incorporation fee in Canada. This, plus incubators like Volta, Cove, Ignite (Yarmouth) and Momentum (Sydney), together with focused effort of post-secondary, business, venture capital and entrepreneurs will build on the 4,500 jobs created in start ups since the Ivany report.” Patrick Sullivan, the CEO and president of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, has a pleasant suggestion for how individual Nova Scotians can do their part. “Maybe I think it’s my personal responsibility to try every micro-brewery in the province,” he says with a laugh. “By trying these, I’m employing Nova Scotians. I’m buying products made by Nova Scotians.” He spent Boxing Day shopping in downtown Dartmouth and Halifax, which strengthens existing businesses and encourages others to open. The government can help wine producers by listing them at the NSLC and giving them good shelf space. They can give grants to plant new grapes. But they can’t plant the grapes and turn them into wine. And they can’t make people decide to buy locally, rather than internationally. “It’s not up to government to solve these things for us. It’s up to us,” Sullivan says. “Frankly, if we leave it to government, it won’t get done.” He does want the provincial government to cut spending down to rates on par with inflation and population growth. “They’ve been spending faster than inflation and spending faster than our population has been growing,” he says. “Long term, we need to think about how we can reduce those kinds of things to reduce taxes to attract those new businesses and ensure people are enthusiastic about staying. And that goes for folks in every income category, not just higher-income earners.” He also points to IBM, which in 2013 employed 65 people locally and by 2018 employed 518. He puts a number on the venture capital increase: it went from $15.9-million in 2013 to $77-million in 2017. “We’re seeing many more start ups — in the Halifax area in particular,” he says, adding that 16 per cent of the startups generate more than $1-million in revenue. He says the Ivany report stands the test of time as an overall view of the state of the province in 2014. He cites population and immigration as two bright areas that will bring long-term benefits. He puts a positive spin on the areas marked as “not progressing” in the report. That means we’re not on track to meet the targets, but it doesn’t necessarily mean we’re not progressing. The One N.S. website backs him up. It calls the goals “visionary, ambitious and difficult to achieve.” It defines progressing as “moving substantially closer to the target” while not progressing means “the indicator is moving away from the target or not moving substantially.” The Ivany report calls for 7,000 new immigrants per year. Nova Scotia had 5,500 last year. “If we only get 75 per cent of the way to say a significant increase in youth employment, or labour-force participation, that’s a significant accomplishment,” Sullivan says. That will be especially important as our aging population continues to retire. He says companies may want to “overinvest” in attracting and retaining younger staff to smooth that transition period. “We’re going to have over 75,000 people who are going to turn 65 in the next 10 or 12 years. That’s a significant number of people who may decide that they’d rather not work,” he says. “We need to replace them.” As a final point, Sullivan says the Chamber’s 2019 strategic plan focuses on key Ivany report goals: entrepreneurship, youth retention and immigration. With a widespread focus on those key areas, he’s confident the 10-year anniversary of the Ivany report will see a prospering Nova Scotia getting closer to the overall goal of building a new economy.

Legacy Series fair-trade coffee brand to feature stories of historically significant African Nova Scotians

Funds raised through VictoriUS! sales to support William Hall scholarship

WOLFVILLE, NS - It will open eyes as a morning coffee and as a means to promote African Nova Scotian history, all while supporting post-secondary studies and the values of fair trade. In partnership with Just Us! Coffee Roasters Co-op of Grand Pre and Acadia University’s food service provider Chartwells, the Valley African Nova Scotian Development Association (VANSDA) launched Legacy Series Coffee at an event at Acadia’s Wheelock Dining Hall in Wolfville on Feb. 8. Launched during African Heritage Month, this unique specialty coffee series features labels promoting various historic persons of African descent important to Nova Scotia and Canada. The first in the series is a tribute to William Hall VC released under the label “VictoriUS!” VANSDA executive director Robert Ffrench said he doesn’t think anyone could appreciate how fast the Legacy Series initiative came together, “from a conversation, to a telephone call to a launch.” Ffrench said it’s important to recognize why VANSDA is doing this. In 2011, the organization instituted the William Hall Heritage Scholarship for students wishing to attend Acadia University. “What we’ve chosen to do with the proceeds from the William Hall coffee series is to seed the William Hall Scholarship,” Ffrench said. In the future, VANSDA hopes to help as many students each year through the scholarship as funds will allow. Currently, two students receive the scholarship every year with the university providing matching funds up to $1,000. William Edward Hall VC (1827-1904) was the first Black person, the first Nova Scotian and the third Canadian to receive the Victoria Cross. Awarded for his actions in the Siege of Lucknow during the Indian Rebellion, Hall and an officer from his ship continued to load and fire a 24-pounder gun after the rest of the party had been killed or injured by the defenders, breaching the wall so troops were able to rush in and take control. Sharing African Nova Scotian history African Nova Scotian Affairs Minister Tony Ince said he was delighted to learn that historic African Nova Scotians will be featured as part of the new coffee brand. That history will now be shared in a broader sense. “This serves not only to promote African Nova Scotian heritage but will also further educate all Nova Scotians from across all races and cultures about the contributions of individuals in this part of the region and throughout all Nova Scotia, while also enjoying a great cup of coffee,” Ince said. Some of the other historical figures to be featured include Rose Fortune, Portia White and Marcus Garvey. As Ince pointed out, Garvey is not a Nova Scotian but in 1938 he visited Sydney, where he delivered a speech that became the basis for the Bob Marley’s Redemption Song. VANSDA chairwoman Geraldine Browning said the theme of this year’s African Heritage Month in Nova Scotia is “Our History is Your History” and education plays an important role. The unique history of African Nova Scotians is interwoven with the past, present and future of all Nova Scotians and the theme also forms the basis of Legacy Series coffee. She said the historical figures to be featured in 2019 “share a unique and sometimes unknown bond” in the building and shaping of communities here and across the country. “Today I’m pleased to be part of another step in a journey to bring our history into the hands and homes across the province and beyond,” Browning said. Ethics of fair trade Acadia University President Dr. Peter Ricketts said that what we eat and drink is important beyond the impact it has nourishing our bodies. “Having ethical food and good food and food that is actually contributing to making for a better world is part of the learning experience and certainly I want it to be part of the Acadia experience,” Ricketts said. Just Us! Coffee Roasters general manager Joe Pittoello said he is looking forward to making the stories of the historical figures featured in the Legacy Series better known. He said Just Us! is a worker-owned co-op that is community-focused by nature and it was the first fair trade coffee roaster in Canada. He said they are authentic in their commitment to fair trade and began promoting it before it was fashionable because it was “the right thing to do.” Chartwells Higher Education Dining Services regional director of operations Andy Murray said they were presented with the opportunity to support and help launch Legacy Series coffee at Acadia through a partnership with Just Us! Through the project, Murray said that VANSDA, Just Us!, Acadia and Chartwells have aligned values with a focus on supporting local, championing sustainability through fair trade, supporting small producers and supporting community partnerships. He said Legacy Series coffee would be available at Acadia, at the four Nova Scotia Community College campuses they serve and at the University of Kings College.