GUYSBOROUGH – A Nova Scotia Justice Plan consultation meeting was held in Guysborough on May 13 – one of 16 in-person sessions scheduled across the province throughout May and June.
Members of African Nova Scotian communities in the Guysborough area were invited to give their input towards developing a plan to address issues faced by people of African descent in the Nova Scotia justice system.
In a news release announcing the consultation process last March, Attorney General and Justice Minister Brad Johns said, “The voices of African Nova Scotian community members are a critical part of the plan development…Our government is committed to addressing systemic racism and discrimination in the justice system. We acknowledge the negative experiences this has on African Nova Scotians, and we must take steps to improve access, remove barriers, ensure fairness and improve the relationship between African Nova Scotian communities and the justice system.”
Peter G. McLaughlin, director of communications for the Nova Scotia Department of Justice (DOJ), told The Journal on May 16, “We know that the community will provide us with the feedback, guidance and support we need so that DOJ can put forward a framework for the African Nova Scotian Justice Plan that will include key recommendations for the department and our justice partners. The goal is to dismantle systemic barriers for African Nova Scotian within the justice system.”
After the in-person consultation sessions conclude, McLaughlin wrote, “We will be preparing a ‘what we heard’ report that will be shared publicly. We will then re-engage with community for a second round of meetings to validate what we heard. We also plan to engage with justice system stakeholders and partners once we have heard from community.”
A draft plan is expected by the end of the year.
For those of African descent who are unable to attend an in-person consultation meeting but would like to take part in the process, a QR code linking to an online survey is available by visiting the African Nova Scotian Affairs social media platforms—Facebook and Twitter—and is printed below.
The following are dates and locations for upcoming community consultation sessions:
May 21 – Shelburne: Black Loyalist Centre (adult session), 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
May 27 – Yarmouth: Greenville Community Centre, 6 to 8 p.m.
May 28 – Digby: Digby Legion (adult session), 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
June 3 – Whitney Pier: Menelik Hall, 6 to 8 p.m.
June 4 – Whitney Pier: Boys and Girls Club (youth session), 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
June 7 – Kentville: Valley African Nova Scotian Development Association (VANSDA) office, 6 to 8 p.m.
June 11 – Halifax: Halifax North Memorial Public Library (youth session), 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
June 14 – Beechville: Beechville Baptist Church, 6 to 8 p.m.
June 18 – Preston Township/Dartmouth: Black Cultural Centre (adult session), 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
June 22 — Halifax: St. Andrew’s Community Centre (session about non-indigenous Nova Scotians of African descent community members; open to all ages), 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
June 28 – Hammonds Plains: Community Hall, 6 to 8 p.m.
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