Black man in shirt and tie speaks at a podium next to a TV monitor
Randy Headley, chair of the Delmore “Buddy” Daye Learning Institute, speaks at the annual Report to the Community on June 23, 2002. Photo: Matthew Byard.

Books about Black Canadians and Black history were among many highlights of the Delmore “Buddy” Daye Learning Institute’s (DBDLI) Report to the Community, which took place Thursday night at the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia in Cherry Brook.

“Our institute’s commitment to being a leading publisher of Africentric resources is evidenced through growth of our programming and resources,” said Sylvia Parris-Drummond, CEO of the institute. “We were excited to do second printings of three of our published works and launched the second book in our African Nova Scotian (ANS) Community Voices series, A Child of East Preston by Wanda Thomas Bernard.”

Book cover: A Child of East Preston by Wanda Thomas Bernard. The cover shows Ms. Thomas Bernard who has a short haircut, is wearing glasses, and a bright aqua jacket with pins on the lapels. The cover also includes black and white photos of young children.
A Child of East Preston by Wanda Thomas Bernard

The Black history textbook published by the institute is called Black History: Africa, The Caribbean, and the Americas. Kevin Harrison, the community engagement and public relations coordinator for DBDLI, said the institute wants the book added to high school curriculums across the country.

“We have the textbook that we primarily try to promote through high schools and also universities to some degree,” he said. “It’s available through us; you don’t have to be a high school teacher or a student. Anybody can buy it. But we also have an online version, too.”

The book cover for Black History: Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas. The cover is orange with photos of colourful beaded necklaces
Black History: Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas

“Its idea is to promote Black history because the way that it has been promoted in the past in other school systems, it kind of blankets over certain areas. We wanted to make sure people got the full history.”

Diversity in newsrooms

Brian Daly, who teaches journalism at the University of King’s College, was a guest speaker at the event. Daly also serves as the Atlantic director for the Canadian Association of Black Journalists where he runs a journalism training program called J-School Noire, for Black high school students in the region.

During his presentation, Daly gave statistical information about under-representation in Canadian newsrooms and showed there’s even less representation in senior leadership roles. He talked about potential solutions to the under-representation, such as a recent CRTC ruling mandating the CBC air more content from marginalized communities, including from racialized communities.

Black man in shirt and tie speaks at a podium next to a tv monitor
University of King’s College journalism instructor Brian Daly was the guest speaker at the DBDLIs 2021-22 Report to the Community. Photo: Matthew Byard.

Daly also highlighted current work being done by various Black media professionals and Black media organizations throughout the region such as A Seat at the Table with Nicole Johnson, Blacklantic, Black in the Maritimes, and Soundtrack to the Struggle.

Other highlights

February marked the 10-year anniversary of the DBDLI official launch. Thursday’s event was the institute’s first in-person Report to the Community since before the pandemic.

Randy Headley, who’s the chair of the DBDLI and who emceed the event, spoke about the growth of the institute from its first location in a small office to its new larger space on Cornwallis Street. The institute also grew in staff and board members. In his speech, Headley thanked all the current and past board members for their vision.

“They wanted to see a difference in the learning experience for African Nova Scotian learners and I think they have begun that journey to accomplish that for us,” Headley said. “For the present board members, what a tough task we have ahead of us.”

The Report to the Community also highlighted DBDLI annual flagship event, the African Nova Scotian History Challenges, which it says, “was taken up in earnest by students and educators across the province.”

Two Black men smile to the audience while embracing each other on stage.
DBDLI Chair Randy Headley presents an acknowledgement to DBDLI Research Director Dr. George Frempong. Photo: Matthew Byard.

Two awards were also presented. DBDLI’s director of research, Dr. George Frempong, was acknowledged for all his work. Abid Ahmad from NSCC was also honoured for his design and donation of an Africentric-style podium to the institute.

Parris-Drummond shared details of upcoming events and programs, including a 10th-anniversary celebration in the fall, an Africentric Research Series to be held on Fridays throughout the summer, a second Africentric Conference, an ongoing Ancestral Roots Summit, and the next African Nova Scotian History Challenge. She said the institute plans on holding the next Report to the Community in Cape Breton.

A Black woman presents an award to a Black man at a podium.
DBDLI CEO Sylvia Parris-Drummond presents an award to Abid Ahmad from NSCC. Photo: Matthew Byard.

“As we gather in June 2022 for our annual Report to the Community, we reflect on a year that was still heavily impacted by health-challenging occurrences, physical and mental, and societal injustices,” Parris-Drummond said. “Despite those challenges, DBDLI reflected a vision and echoed a mantra of our namesake, Mr. Delmore ‘Buddy Daye, who said, ‘Take action when and where you can.’ With that in mind, we continued to centre ourselves on our community.”

The event is available here on the DBDLI YouTube channel.

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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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