African Nova Scotian communities across the province are working together on a unique roadmap for the betterment of their communities by addressing issues that have affected Black citizens for decades.
The Road to Economic Prosperity for African Nova Scotian Communities – a community-led initiative – has developed a plan to build prosperity and economic well-being. Their work has been underway for months but the communities are now getting a look at what has been done to date.
“There are some serious gaps in progress and the African Nova Scotian has been held back by these gaps. This is a way of trying to move things forward and that’s why the work is so important,” said Rosella Fraser, the program manager at the North Preston Community Center.
The initiative aims to close employment and housing gaps, improve economic and quality of life outcomes by collecting data from African Nova Scotian communities – something that has never been done before.
“A perfect example is thinking of street checks – that’s an issue that, as the Black community, we talked about for years about being over-policed. It was really when the report came out that had the data that showed it, that’s when people pay attention. So, it’s kind of the same thing with this scenario here,” said Coun. Lindell Smith.
Carolann Wright, director of strategic initiatives and capacity building for the Halifax Partnership, says researchers are listening to the communities about their concerns.
“We want the community to trust us in this process. This is going to result in some really good work and some really good advancements in terms of the information we have about us so we can do something about it,” she said.
Advisory board members from many of the Black communities in the province participated in the summit.
“The fact of it is that we’re not just separated anymore – we are one community, which is the African Nova Scotian community. Not Beechville, not Lucasville, not East Preston, not North Preston. So this is exciting because we get to do the work together,” said Senior Deacon Patsy Crawford from Beechville Baptist Church.
The Road to Economic Prosperity for African Nova Scotian Communities will take about five years to bear results.
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