Eddie Carvery

By: The Hon. Wanda Thomas Bernard

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Hon. Wanda Thomas Bernard: Honourable senators, I am pleased to rise today, joining you on Algonquin land, grateful to be here. My task is to applaud the determination and courage of Mr. Eddie Carvery, who has been protesting for justice and the restoration of his home in Africville, Nova Scotia.

Africville was a vibrant African-Nova Scotian community that was forcibly dismantled in the 1960s. Over 80 families — 400 residents — were uprooted from their homes. This forced relocation fuelled anger into action for Eddie Carvery, whose protest stands as one of Canada’s longest civil rights protests.

His protest started in 1970 as a sit-in on the grounds of Africville, where he had lived for over 50 years, and continued to live, refusing to leave until Africville is returned to its people.

His demonstration attracted supporters who recognized the significance of his cause. Many community members and activists rallied behind Mr. Carvery, calling for a resolution to the historical injustices faced by Africville residents and addressing broader issues of systemic racism in Nova Scotia.

In 2010, the City of Halifax apologized for the destruction of Africville and established the Africville Heritage Trust to oversee the revitalization of the community’s history. There are ongoing debates about the scope of these reparations. Many support Carvery’s mission to seek further reparations for the systemic racism and multi-generational harms caused by the forced relocation of Africville residents.

As Mr. Carvery himself has said:

I’ve been there on the ground . . . . I’ve had six heart attacks . . . . Our Lord . . . took a scoundrel like me and He gave me this great opportunity to fight. . . . I applaud Genealogy . . . but . . . our fight has just started . . . .

Today, honourable colleagues, I invite you to join me in recognizing Eddie Carvery and his commitment to creating a more just and equitable society.

The fight against racism and systemic discrimination in Nova Scotia is far from over; however, Eddie Carvery’s protest has been a catalyst for change. He inspires community members to take an active role in addressing historical injustices.

Thank you, asante.

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