International Human Rights Day

By: The Hon. Wanda Thomas Bernard

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Hon. Wanda Elaine Thomas Bernard: Honourable senators, today, for International Human Rights Day, I wish to highlight an organization that has been advocating for the rights of African Nova Scotians.

The African Nova Scotian Decade for People of African Descent Coalition, or DPAD for short, focuses on the historic injustices against Black Canadians in Nova Scotia and current issues related to institutional and systemic racism, and on developing a foundation for future generations.

The organization’s mission is to build strength and health across communities, and to build a relationship between African Nova Scotians and all levels of government. DPAD advocates for action on pressing current issues, including police brutality, racial profiling, disaggregated data and ensuring African-Nova Scotian voices are represented in government.

Black Canadians have endured a difficult year. On top of a global crisis jeopardizing our health and livelihoods, we have also endured the racial trauma of the murder of many Black people at the hands of police and the echoing impact of injustices. We have been forced to experience the collision of dual pandemics — racism and COVID-19.

Throughout this time of grief, DPAD has been a stabilizing force. The theme for this year’s Human Rights Day is “Recover Better — Stand Up for Human Rights.”

DPAD stands up for African-Nova Scotian rights as we build back better.

I particularly congratulate the staff of this organization, Vanessa Fells and Bernadette Hamilton-Reid, their executive committee and all member organizations that work collectively to lead change. They mobilize and coordinate change in each of the 50 African-Nova Scotian communities and represent us at the federal level.

I look forward to watching this organization grow in the coming years as they recognize African Nova Scotians as an integral part of Nova Scotia’s past, present and future.

Honourable colleagues, please join me in celebrating the exceptional human rights work of the African Nova Scotian Decade for People of African Descent Coalition.

Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!

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