May 15, 2017 2:37 pm
Updated: May 15, 2017 2:39 pm

Group presses Nova Scotia candidates for answers on African Nova Scotian issues

Jalana Lewis is a member of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers, one of the groups in the coalition. "We want everybody to start thinking of these issues, not just certain people in certain places."

Alexander Quon/Global News
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A coalition of African Nova Scotian organizations are in the process of reaching out to candidates from every party in the ongoing election, asking them to identify how they will approach matters of importance to African Nova Scotians.

The coalition sent out a 10-question survey on Monday to every candidate registered in the race. The groups want to dispel the notion that the only officials who should care about African Nova Scotians are those in certain ridings, especially in the Halifax Regional Municipality.

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“We might have this vision of [African Nova Scotians] being in pockets closer to the HRM but in fact, they are throughout the province,” said Jalana Lewis, a member of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers, one of the groups in the coalition. “We want everybody to start thinking of these issues, not just certain people in certain places.”

READ MORE: Collection chronicling four decades of African Nova Scotian civil rights launched

The survey touches on topics such as environmental racism, historic land claims, access to health and education, and position on street checks.

Each question has a lengthy preamble with links to more information on the topic. The coalition hopes that the preambles will prove helpful to inform all candidates — whether they win or lose — on issues relevant to African Nova Scotians.

“These might be issues that they may not have thought about or encountered,” said Lewis. “It seems like a good time to get people thinking about these things. Once they are elected, they will be able to collaborate with the coalition and with organizations that are trying to make these things happen.

READ MORE: Group proposes Nova Scotia environmental bill of rights

Lewis says she hopes to see a high number of responses to the questionnaire.

Once the surveys are returned, the coalition will be shared with African Nova Scotian communities throughout the province.

Candidates are being asked to complete the survey by May 24.

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