We write this statement as members of the Campaign 2000 steering committee, authors, and publisher of the Annual Nova Scotia Report Card on Child and Family Poverty.
We are outraged by the continued systemic violence and police brutality against Black people and hostile responses to protests against anti-Black racism and for civil liberties. We grieve with our Black and Indigenous colleagues and community members who are impacted.
We denounce all forms of anti-Black racism, colonialism and white supremacy. While much of the focus has been on the United Stated, we know that these systems have a long history and deep roots in Canada where Black and Indigenous Peoples have long been denied their human rights.
As is stated in the United Nations Report of the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent,“Canada’s history of enslavement, racial segregation and marginalization of African Canadians has left a legacy of anti-Black racism and had a deleterious impact on people of African descent, which must be addressed in partnership with the affected communities.” We are almost halfway through the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024) and much more needs to be done so they can fully and equally participate in all aspects of society.
We know that Black and Indigenous communities have much worse health outcomes and exponentially higher rates of poverty than white Canadians and that this is a both a result of and a strategy to maintain systemic oppression. At 40%, the rate of poverty among Black children in Nova Scotia is the second highest in the country. This is compared to a provincial child poverty rate of 22.2%.
We have a responsibility to ensure that our work in these areas contribute to ending anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism, which cannot be done without critical self-reflection, education and dialogue.
We recommit to learn from and work with Black and Indigenous community members, service beneficiaries, educators, leaders, policy makers and organizations to ensure prevention and intervention services respond to their needs and are barrier-free. We will work with them to ground our research and develop policy solutions that dismantle systemic violence and colonialism and lead us towards true democracy, safety and inclusion.
We support the calls by the African Nova Scotian Decade for People of African Descent Coalition to establish “a legislative framework for recognizing African Nova Scotians as a unique people that results in an Act that establishes a new relationship between all People of African Ancestry and the Government of Nova Scotia.”
We support the calls by Black scholars, community members, and allied academics and health professionals to gather disaggregated racial data, and immediately create a proactive health plan for African Nova Scotian and Black communities.
We support the calls to declare anti-Black racism a public health crisis.
We support the calls for the federal government to:
accelerate implementation of the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and recommendations from the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples
Adopt the 231 Calls to Justice to end genocide from the Final Report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls
Under the leadership of Indigenous women and 2 Spirit People, immediately develop and fully resource a National Action Plan to end gender-based violence.
Lesley Frank, author of the annual NS Child and Family Poverty Report Card for 20 years, NS member of the Campaign 2000 Steering Committee, and Associate Professor, Sociology, at Acadia University
Christine Saulnier, Director, CCPA-NS, editor, publisher, past author of the annual child and family poverty report card, NS member of the Campaign 2000 Steering Committee
Laura Fisher, author of the 2019 NS Child and Family Poverty Report Card & MA student in Sociology at Acadia University
Stella Lord, NS member of the Campaign 2000 Steering Committee and Member, Coordinating Committee, NS Action Coalition for Community Well-Being.