1. Campaign signs destroyed

Last weekend in Truro, campaign signs went up for provincial Liberal candidate Tamara Tynes Powell. Very early Sunday morning, several of the signs were founded vandalized and burned. At least one of the signs was in a Black neighborhood “The Marsh” where Tynes Powell grew up.

Tamara Tynes Powell preparing a stack of campaign signs
Tamara Tynes Powell readies campaign signs Saturday, just hours before many of them were found vandalized and burned. Photo: Tamara Tynes Powell / Facebook

Tynes Powell and her supporters said they felt the vandalism was motivated by racial hatred. Speaking with the Examiner on Tuesday, Tynes Powell said:

A lot of times the thought is, you know, ‘Am I going to be blamed for this? Am I going to be blamed for using the race card?’ I think its just a natural consequence, unfortunately, of the skin we’re in. But that being said, when you live in this skin, you learn to know all the hate that comes along with it.

So for me it’s more important that I stand up against any sort of hatred act. And if that was to mean that I wasn’t elected, then that means that there’s a lot more work to do, and it doesn’t necessarily stop the work that I will continue doing.

For me, if I wasn’t true and authentic to who I am, what I stand for, then I don’t feel that I would be very good representation in the first place.

Tynes Powell is one of close to a dozen Black MLA candidates in the upcoming election on August 17. She is the first Black candidate in the riding of Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River.*

2. Noise pollution in Hammonds Plains

Two views from Vanessa Jackson's back deck, showing the car repair lot mere metres awau from her lawn, with just a small width of bushes between.
Two views from Vanessa Jackson’s back deck. Photos: Vanessa Louise/ Facebook

In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, Vanessa Jackson posted a video on Facebook that appeared to show a car towing company, which she says is Halifax Towing & Repair, conducting operations next door to her home in the middle of the night. Jackson, who is Black, lives in the historic Black community of Hammonds Plains.

The post read:

When the noise is so loud they wake you up out of your sleep! Not only was the truck running but they decided to work on the truck and change the tires!! When my husband asked if this could be done at another time because our 5 children are trying to sleep, they said it’s a 24 hour business and they can work on cars any time! Something needs to be done about this ASAP! My husband and I both have to work in the morning!!

The post also tagged the area’s Liberal incumbent Ben Jessome, the area’s NDP and sole-Black MLA candidate, Angela Downey, local District 13 city councillor, Pamela Lovelace, Jackson’s husband, the Upper Hammonds Plains Community Development Association, and CBC’s Kyah Sparks.

Rev. Dr. Lennett J. Anderson, senior pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Hammond Plains, shared the video hours later writing:

This is happening in our community! We need action now. Residents deserve BETTER!! (…) Wow – a 24hr business in a residential community!!

He tagged the Halifax Regional Municipality, Pam Lovelace, and myself.

Speaking with the Examiner on Wednesday, Jackson said the issue has been ongoing for almost two years. She says that while working with the city and elected officials to try to resolve the matter she discovered that the business doesn’t even have proper permits.

Click here to view the original Facebook posts.

3. Black-hosted Senior Empowerment Sessions in second week

Shartelle Lyon and her mother Sharmay Beals-Wentzell
Shartelle Lyon and her mother Sharmay Beals-Wentzell founded the Valley Anti-Racism Association following the murder of George Floyd. Photo: Shartelle Lyon

A series of virtual information sessions for seniors hosted by a group of all-Black professionals is now in its second week. The Senior Empowerment Sessions are a collaboration between Injury Free Nova Scotia, West Hants Senior Safety, and the Valley Anti-Racism Association.

Co-founders of the Valley Anti-Racism Association, mother and daughter Sharmay Beals-Wentzell and Shartelle Lyon, spoke to The Examiner this week about how the association was inspired by the murder of George Floyd, their work since then, and how the Senior Empowerment Sessions came about. Lyon said:

We tried to find a kind of cross point for where our anti-racism work, Peri’s injury-free work, and Karen’s senior work could kind of intersect so that we could work on a collaborative project. And then the Senior Empowerment Sessions is what came out of that.

We wanted to make sure all of our hosts were people of colour. So, we made sure in our process, in our search, that we were only targeting people of colour so that we could provide that anti-racist standpoint (…) Not to say there aren’t Black professionals because there obviously are. It’s just nine times out of 10 if you go to speak to somebody you’re not going to speak to a Black person or an Indigenous person or a person of colour.

This week’s virtual information session (shot and edited by yours truly) is hosted by occupational therapist, Sarah Teklet, and covers falls prevention.

The sessions are scheduled for six weeks. Each Monday, a prerecorded session on a new topic is uploaded to the project’s Facebook page along with an event reminder and Zoom link to a virtual Q&A session to take place Fridays at 3pm Atlantic time. For more information, click here.

4. NDP campaign stop in Cherrybrook

NDP leader Gary Burrill, NDP Preston candidate Colter Simmonds and community activist Quentrel Provo chat at a picnic table.
NDP leader Gary Burrill, NDP Preston candidate Colter Simmonds and community activist Quentrel Provo discuss police street checks during a campaign stop in Cherrybrook

NDP leader Gary Burrill and Colter Simmonds, the NDP candidate in the Preston riding, held a campaign stop in Cherrybrook. They were joined by activist Quentrel Provo to hold an open discussion about police street checks in the Halifax area and Preston that have been proven to disproportionately target Black people and other people of colour. Simmonds and Provo shared several personal accounts of being racially profiled by police. Simmonds saying, in part:

They really didn’t have a reason to be pulling us over, just that we, you know, ‘fit the description,’ as we always hear.

What about the people and the persons that are so frustrated with stuff like that, that they’re not able to contain theirselves and it becomes a situation where [the police] have a right to take you out the car and basically harass you?

If elected, Burrill said he will “completely ban, street checks in all of Nova Scotia,” referring to what the group called a “suspicious activity loophole.”

The NDP candidate for Halifax-Needham, Suzy Hansen, and NDP candidate for Hammonds Plains-Lucasville, Angela Downey were also in attendance, as was NDP MP for Hamilton Centre in Ontario, Matthew Green.

5. MP Matthew Green: street checks are a “constitutional issue”

Matthew Green speaks to reporters outside on a sunny day.
MP for Hamilton Centre in Ontario, Matthew Green, joins Gary Burrill and Colter Simmonds on a campaign stop in Cherrybrook.

Speaking of Matthew Green, the NDP MP for Hamilton Centre in Ontario is no stranger to street checks himself. Speaking with the Examiner last Saturday in Cherrybrook, Green called street checks a “constitutional issue,” saying they are “absolutely about racial profiling.”

The data shows conclusively that this practice (…) targets young Black men in ways it doesn’t effect anybody else, therefore violating their constitutional rights. (…) And as it relates to the issue of whether or not there’s a reasonable and probable cause, there’s already framework set up in place, legally, that would have to pass a threshold for what is reasonable and probable.

Federally we have a government who not only condones the practice of street checks, but they actually appointed the architect of it. Bill Blair is absolutely the architect of street checks through his Tavis program as the chief of police in Toronto.

When you talk about accountability, there has to be systems in place that acknowledges the criminality of the process and have an equal response to that criminality. And so, this idea of having in person apologies is not enough. These records need to be on their employment record, and they ought not be erased after a few years which is often the case.

Green said he has an active human rights complaint against the Hamilton police from when he said he was racially profiled and street checked in 2016 when he was a city councilor in Hamilton. Halifax Regional Police Chief, Dan Kinsella, was deputy chief of the Hamilton police at the time of the incident. When asked open-endedly about Kinsella, Green said:

Well, I think he was right in the apology, but without action it’s empty and meaningless. And we’ve heard that time and time again.

6. North Preston Day returns!

After the campaign stop Colter Simmonds, Gary Burrill, and company joined the Liberals’ Angela Simmonds and the PC’s Archy Beals for the annual North Preston Day Parade, not far up the road in North Preston. Last year’s parade was canceled due to COVID-19. The event has been a tradition since 2007.

The CBC’s Brooklyn Currie reported on the parade. She also spoke to the Preston riding’s all-Black slate of candidates in the upcoming election.

North Preston Day 2017: Custio Clayton, Puddie Provo, Dave Downey, Kirk Johnson. Photo: Puddie Provo/Facebook

7. Shay Colley returns after injury in Olympic debutShay Colley, smiling in her red Team Canada uniform

After scoring 12 points, East Preston’s Shay Colley had to leave her debut game as a member of the Canadian Olympic women’s basketball team, after injuring her shoulder. Canada went on to lose 72-68 to Serbia.

The starting guard, however, was able to make a return in Canada’s 74-53 win over Korea on Wednesday. She scored nine points.

Canada is scheduled to play Spain today in their final round-robin game of the Olympic tournament.

8. Blkpreneur market and Emancipation Day

Recent NSCC journalism graduate and Global News Halifax reporter, Amber Fryday, filed two reports this on stories from the Black community.

On Monday, she spoke to Tia Upshaw about a “Blkpreneur market” that featured 20 entrepreneurs and celebrated Black women-owned small businesses that have been able to thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic. Upshaw said:

I am a Black woman and I never had anybody reach out and want to help me in my journey of being self-employed.

If it wasn’t for COVID, these women wouldn’t have had the courage and the gumption and the strive to actually do something. Because they need to replace that lost income.

Black women, we are the core of our family unit. We are the core…And if we’re not right and we’re not financially stable, if we’re struggling or if we’re stressing over, ‘I can’t pay the bill, I can’t do this, I can’t do that,’ we can’t be the best version of ourselves for us or for our children.

On Friday, she spoke to the executive of the Black Cultural Centre Russell Grosse about Nova Scotia’s history of slavery ahead of this Sunday’s first official Emancipation Day in Canada. Grosse said:

A lot of people feel that slavery is something that only occurred south of the border. There is evidence and research that shows that there was slavery right here in the Maritimes. Here in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

As we move toward making that history become more mainstream. Once it gets into schools and educational institutions and it becomes commonplace as part of Canada’s history, as part of Nova Scotia’s history, I think that we will get to a place where there is more understanding of those diverse issues.

To view these, and other reports by Fryday, click here.

9. Black In The Maritimes podcast

Images from the Black in the Maritimes podcast homepage

On Wednesday hosts Fidel Franco, Allan Mccall, Clinton Davis, and Hillary Leblanc released their latest podcast episode of Black In The Maritimes.

This week the group discussed the Tokyo Olympics, the all-Black Preston candidate slate in the upcoming Nova Scotia election, as well as recent controversy surrounding Lil Nas X.

Links to this week’s episode, past episodes, as well as blog posts, (and find that PayPal donation button) on the group’s official website BlackintheMaritimes.com.

Other Black podcasts based in the Maritimes include My Name Is Searl hosted by Chris Searl, In Case You Missed It hosted by Jermaine Colley, and  True Fatherhood Stories hosted by Jay Bruce.

If you haven’t already, you can read last week’s Black News File here.

*We incorrectly stated that Tamara Tynes-Powell was the sole female candidate in the riding of when, in fact, female NDP candidate Deanne DeAdder was also a candidate in the riding of Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River.

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Matthew Byard writes news, profiles, and stories of the Black Nova Scotia community. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.

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