We marched, sang, protested and supported the feminist movement, we fought for maternity leave, employment equity, flex time, and society stands on our shoulders.
A panel discussion examining the story of Black women who have led movements for social change during the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.
Although Black women have played an important role – both behind the scenes and on the frontlines – in struggles for equality, women’s rights and social justice, they are generally excluded from historical narratives of the feminist movement. It is time their stories were told and their contributions to social justice acknowledged and recognized.
Delvina Bernard, Lynn Jones, Dolly Williams and Carolann Wright-Parks
Panel Moderator: El Jones
With opening poetry by:
Dr Afua Cooper and Martha Mutale.
“When we speak of feminism there almost always is the tendency to assume that this is something that was created by white women.” Author and Feminist Civil Rights Leader, Angela Davis
|Delvina Bernard is an educator, songwriter and human rights advocate. For twenty years she led the nationally acclaimed female acapella quartet Four the Moment gaining international recognition for her award winning compositions themed around gender justice, anti-racism, and wider social justice issues. A founding member of the Black Arts Network (BANNS) and African Nova Scotia Music Association (ANSMA) Bernard has shared the stage with artistic giants such as Maya Angelou, Pete Seeger, Buffy Saint Marie and Oscar Peterson. As principal founder of the Africentric Learning Institute of Nova Scotia (ALI), Bernard has been at the forefront of the Canadian Afrocentric education movement.
|Dr Lynn Jones is a a community and labour activist from Truro, Nova Scotia. From the time she was a child, she struggled against racism, sexism and discrimination. Jones became a strong labour activist with the Public Service Alliance of Canada, and then became the first person of colour to be elected Vice President of the Canadian Labour Congress. She has been active in the movement against environmental racism and helped craft the first environmental racism bill in Canada. She presently chairs The Global Afrikan Congress-Nova Scotia Chapter, a global organization who seeks reparations for the atrocities of the trans -Atlantic slave trade.
|Dolly Williams is from the community of East Preston, Nova Scotia, Canada. She has served on numerous boards and committees, including the Congress of Black Women Preston and Area Chapter, East Preston Ratepayers, the Halifax Senior Council, the National Action Coalition of Canadian Women, the Black Cultural Society of Nova Scotia, the Black Educators Association and Southeastern Capital Health Board, among many others. She currently sits on the Nova Scotia Community Links Board, is Chairperson of the Preston & Area Housing Fund Board, and a member of the Women Inter-Church Council of Halifax. In 2007, she published the book Black Women Who Made a Difference in Nova Scotia for the Congress of Black Women of Canada.
|Carolann Wright-Parks was born and raised in Beechville, Nova Scotia. She has 30 years of experience in community development in Toronto, South Africa and Halifax. While working with communities in Toronto, she ran for Mayor in 1988 as the first (and still only) Black woman to run for Mayor of Toronto coming second against the incumbent. In 1994, Wright-Parks returned to Halifax and is now the Director of Community Economic Development and Strategic Engagement at the Greater Halifax Partnership. With a specific mandate to assist, support and enhance African Nova Scotian communities, Carolann brings lifelong passion and experience for community development to her work.
|El Jones is a poet, educator, journalist and advocate. She grew up in Winnipeg before moving to Halifax where she studied English at Dalhousie University. She was the fifth Poet Laureate of Halifax from 2013 to 2015, and currently holds the 15th Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University. El is a co-founder of the Black Power Hour, a radio show developed collectively with prisoners.
|Dr Afua Cooper is Halifax’s current Poet Laureate. She has published five books of poetry, including the critically acclaimed Copper Woman and Other Poems, and two historical novels. Her creative work has been recognized with national and international awards. In 2018, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recognized Dr. Cooper as one of the women who are changing Canadian society for the better. Cooper is also the 3rd James Robinson Johnston Chair in Black Canadian studies at Dalhousie University. An academic leader, she is the founder of the Black Canadian Studies Association, and also created the Black and African Diaspora Studies Minor at Dalhousie, making it the first of its kind in a Canadian institution of higher learning.
|Martha Mutale is a Zambian-born poet, organizer, and advocate. Martha was a 4th Wall participant for the Michaëlle Jean Foundation, where she submitted a poem called No Justice No Peace which talks about the global issues surrounding Black and Brown bodies. She has been performing poetry for several years, she took part in the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in 2016, as well as the Canadian Individual Poetry Slam in Vancouver in 2017. She co-founded a non-profit called Poets 4 Progress which was active for two years and now spend her time working as a Program Coordinator for a Parent Resource Centre. She believes in collaboration, building relationships, and finding ways to better herself.