Africville disappeared for the sake of urban development! The issue with the North-End is different, but the same...
Well, February has been an active month with everyone, everywhere creating awareness in regards to African Canadian history. From the multiple news outlets promoting all the African Heritage Month events throughout the city. To the GoFund me page set up by Quentrel Provo, who recently look 400 of the local African Nova Scotian to see the Black Panther movie. Mad props to being a role model and for being a positive influence in the community at large!
Another engaging moment in the month of February was when "The Current", a CBC radio show came to the Halifax Central Library for a special edition segment. The segment was titled "Facing Race", and it looked at the racism, African Nova Scotians face on many different levels. The piece covers topics from environmental racism, community gentrification, and the racism that black women face every day throughout Nova Scotia. The unedited version of the taping is the best one to watch, and you can find the full version here (Click Here).
The topic of discussion today, is going to be the "gentrification" part of the segment. That's when Anna Maria Tremonti is interviewing Irvine Carvey president of the Africville Genealogy Society, Melinda Daye former chair of the Halifax Regional School Board, and Rodney Small a business development manager for Common Business Solutions.
These types of open mic conversations give anyone in attendance the chance to speak. This is good to see how racism is perceived from different demographic's perspectives. From the young people within our neighborhoods, to our community elders, everyone has a voice of their own. It's when these voices come together collectively, in situations like these, that bring a rightful awareness around the issues happening within the community.
It's unfortunate, but the truth is, if the people in the North-End of Halifax are already feeling like they're losing their community, does that mean the gentrification process has already started?
Here is quote from Irvine Carvery, "Today, currently, people living in public housing cannot look to leave public housing because the rents in the area are way beyond their needs and home ownership is a dream. There has been this dramatic shift".
I believe that conversation goes a level deeper, and financial literacy is really where it starts! It's all money at the end of the day, from owning a small business to buying a home! So the faster that our younger generations can understand just how important things like credit and money management are, is the faster they are going to have the tools to obtain businesses and homes.
It's so true what Rodney Small said about changing the narrative in regards to small businesses and working. We shouldn't be focusing on just getting employment within our community, but ownership as well!
I definitely agree with Irvine when he said "Historically the marginalization of the black population in Nova Scotia and Halifax did not adequately prepare us to take advantage of the economic opportunities and the home ownership opportunities that became available", which makes now the time to arm our future generations with the knowledge they need. The background processes need to be understood first, in order to understand the steps to owning a small business and home ownership.
A great example of what I'm talking about is the organization Hope Blooms. I bet the children working within their organization have learned so many lessons, in regards to the way money really works.
The majority of those same people in the North-End today, are descendants of the Africville community that has long since been a casualty of racism. So the feeling of losing their community really isn't all that new to a lot of the people, but how do systemic problems get fixed? We can't get a new system, so knowledge is going to be the best line of defense. Knowledge is power when you use it properly!
My favorite part in the whole video, is at 2:06:28 during the Q&A session. A young man in attendance asks the minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs, Tony Ince some great questions. His questions pertained to everything from mental health, education, and the criminalization of African Nova Scotians. The questions never get answered, and to be honest, I don't think they could of been answered by the minister at that time. The questions were too deep!
What are the quantifiable metrics used to see if the black community in Nova Scotia is being served by the elected government? Is it determined by how many more times African Nova Scotians get carded by the police? Or maybe it's decided by the historically poor employment rates within the African Nova Scotian community.
All I know is, I don't need to read any metrics to know the province of Nova Scotia needs to do better on so many levels! These discussions need to be continued, as often as possible to keep the awareness where it needs to be.
What do you think about the issues? Everyone has a voice!
I love this documentary that was created in 1991, and reflects on the history of Africville. Throughout the documentary there is video footage from the 60's to the 90's, which is blended together so beautifully it just works perfectly.
Remembering Africville is so insightful because the film is told from so many peoples perspective. The residents of Africville, the local media, and the general public all had their own perspective, and this film shows that. The way the film is put together, it shows some of the challenges the former Africville residents faced.
The community of Africville paid taxes, but yet they didn't have access to any of the municipal resources that the rest of Halifax had. Of course the living conditions in Africville were not the same as the rest of Halifax. If the city didn't invest ANY money into the community, how was it expected to be the same?
The community didn't have proper plumbing or even roads, so it wasn't even comparable. So the city of Halifax basically starved the community of every available resource, and then attacked the community when they thought the time was right.
It was obviously a strategic plan to use the power of influence to dismantle the Africville community, and it worked! Once the elderly people signed their homes over, the younger generation of Africville residents had no choice but to follow. And once the more influential people from the community started signing their homes over, it made it easier for the people with less to make the decision to leave Africville as well.
One by one, the homes in the community of Africville were demolished. The community felt defeated after fighting for their land for so long. The knockout blow came in the dead of night, on November 20, 1967!
That was the evening when the city of Halifax bulldozed the Seaview African United Baptist Church to the ground. The crazy thing is the city of Halifax didn't even own the Church when they took it from the community! And just like that, is how the community of Africville was taken awake from the people.
The former Africville residents were placed in housing projects and throughout the North-end of Halifax. The people never lost their sense of pride or love for Africville, and today the memory of the great community still lives on! I Am Africville...
These next 2 individuals that we're going to focus on are exceptional examples of young leaders from our community!
This all starts with a young man whose name was Demetreous Beals, and was just a joy to be around! He was well liked by teachers, students, and anyone who had the pleasure of meeting Demetreous! Some people can light up any room they walk in, and Demetreous was definitely one of those individuals. Everyone he encountered could feel the positive energy running through his veins, and he will truly be missed by everyone that has met the young man. Demetreous was a valuable member of his community, and the legacy of his positive attitude will forever live on! Demetreous was instrumental to having a basketball court put in his Dartmouth neighborhood! This was the young man that made the regional municipality see his vision for making his community a better place! Those are the exact type of issues a young Lindell Smith was acknowledging when he was just a young boy, and look where he is now! That's the type of person Demetreous Beals was. He was a person for the people, and people being his community!
Unfortunately, Demetreous had a tragic swimming accident the evening of June 27th, 2007, when he was only 14 years old! The loss to the community was evident, the community lost an outstanding citizen that was destine for greatness! But more than that, a mother lost her son and a family is one less amazing!
The legacy of Demetreous Beals lives on in many ways! From every person that has ever stepped foot on the basketball court that Demetreous lobbied for the City to create. To every person that knows what the Demetreous Beals Community Spirit Award is! The award mentioned above is an award given out by Bicentennial School in Dartmouth, which was the school Demetreous was attending at the time of his passing. Bicentennial School gives out the Community Spirit Award to a positive student within the school that lives a lifestyle of selflessness. The focus on team building and community is a wonderful thing, plus so many other valuable qualities come from being part of a community, a team! It's awards like these that let our younger generations know that they don't have to be a grownup to make a difference! So it's only right we acknowledge the last Community Spirit Award winner.
photo credit: giants.com
Brandon Marshall is an elite NFL football player that has played at the professional level since being drafted in 2006 by the Denver Broncos. At 6'5 and plus 230 pounds playing wide receiver you can see why tackling him might be a challenge, he's The Beast! He's also one of only 6 NFL players to ever catch at least 100 passes in three straight seasons! It was unfortunate for the New York Giants to lose Brandon Marshall, and Odell Beckham Jr, both to season ending injuries in the same game! The game on October 8th, week 5 of the season against the LA Chargers was pretty much death for the team with no receiving core! Still shout out to the Giants, injuries in football happen unfortunately.
This isn't about football though it's bigger than that! This is about how this young man used his own story to shine light on the stigma of mental illness. I have watched his story on NFL TV a couple times, and it made me appreciate him more as a man, and not just as a football player. His struggle with mental illness is real as any, but he let the world in! He showed us that with help, we can overcome the biggest of hurdles! Sometimes you look at people and have no clue what they're struggling with.
It's when people like Brandon Marshall step up and speak up that more people take notice! You really have to watch the documentary I'm talking about, it's just so powerful how real he is. His actions have changed so much of the perception that people have in regards to mental illness.
With his organization Project 375, the mission is, "To unlock human potential through conversation, education, and inspiration." How can that not be a good thing, especially coming from someone who has been humbled by his humility. It takes a strong person to address mental illness openly as Brandon did. So for an NFL player I can only imagine that would be 10 times more stressful having everything wide open!
So with the organization Project 375 Brandon is making a major impact on communities everywhere by helping more people realize that mental illness can look perfectly healthy! Shout out to one of my favorite football players, and great guy Brandon Marshall! Check out his organization project375.org, it's definitely worth the 2 seconds of your time!
photo credit: GQ
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past couple of years, you should know who Colin Kaepernick is. Just in case you don't, I'll briefly catch you up to speed with current times.
Colin Kaepernick is a monster athlete to say the least! His college football stats are ridiculous, and he was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 2011. He first started off in the NFL as a backup quarterback to Alex Smith. Halfway through the 2012 season Colin Kaepernick was named the teams starting quarterback for the remainder of the 2012 season. Kaepernick then went on to lead his 49ers team to their first Superbowl appearance since 1994! The following year Kaepernick helped get the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game, so close to another Superbowl appearance.
After 2016 though, Colin Kaepernick couldn't even get a job anywhere within the NFL. There are way less qualified quarterbacks in the NFL, this man has taken a team to the Superbowl, but he still can't get a job with one team?
All because he chose to stand-up for the social injustices being committed against African Americans at the hands of the police. Colin Kaepernick peaceful took a knee during the national anthem, and his livelihood was stripped from him in an instant.
It was really a teachable moment though. The actions of every single NFL team owner that didn't give Kaepernick a job, shows there are systemic issues within an organization as big as the NFL.
Despite not having a job, Colin Kaepernick pledged to donate one million dollars PLUS all the proceeds of his jersey sales from the 2016 season to organizations working in oppressed communities. Colin Kaepernick donated 100k a month for ten months. Kaepernick is now raising major money again helping communities everywhere! This time around, it's all the famous people from Dr. Dre to Alicia Keys joining in and matching his pledges!
This is GQ citizen of the year for 2017, check out his twitter he's most active there.This is Black History of current times! @Kaepernick7
You guys are doing an excellent job at being strong leaders and role models!