2023 African Heritage Month theme in NS is Seas of Struggle
The 2023 African Heritage Month theme, Seas of Struggle – African Peoples from Shore to Shore, recognizes the resiliency, strength, and determination of people of African descent from the shores of Africa to the shores of Nova Scotia — with the Atlantic Ocean being the everlasting connection.
The theme highlights the role the sea has played in the long-standing history of people of African descent in the development of Canada and Nova Scotia. This year’s theme aligns with the United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent (DPAD) 2015-2024. The goal is to strengthen global cooperation in support of people of African descent, increase awareness and recognize their full and equal participation in society.
Nova Scotia has more than 50 historic African Nova Scotian communities with a long, deep and complex history dating back more than 400 years. African Heritage Month provides another opportunity to celebrate and promote the culture, legacy, achievements and contributions of people of African descent in Nova Scotia – past and present.
Source: Government of NS
From the Canadian Labour Congress:
Black History Month is an important time to recognize and celebrate the contributions, achievements and struggles of Black communities in this country. In recognition of the vital role Black workers have played in this nation’s care systems, Canada’s unions are calling for fair and decent work for care workers. From the hidden experiences of Black Nova Scotian domestic workers in the midtwentieth century, to the young Black women domestic workers who participated in Canada’s West Indian Domestic Scheme, to the Black women who overcame significant racial discrimination to train and work as nurses, Black care workers have been integral to this country’s care history. “Black care workers helped build this country. They fought and organized for justice, helping to secure the rights that all workers now benefit from. Today—and every day— we honour this hard work by fighting for fairness and justice for Black care workers,” said Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress. Care workers continue to do the hard work of providing care—paid and unpaid—for our families and communities. This work is often carried out by Black, racialized, immigrant and migrant women.
Wages and working conditions for care jobs do not reflect the true value of the work: jobs are precarious and wages are low. These women often work under poor, unsafe and unfair conditions, with few protections. Care work is traditionally understood to be women’s work, and as such, it is undervalued. This upholds gender stereotypes promoting ideas about women’s place in society and the forms of work assigned to them. “The racial dimensions and undervaluing of care work also have deep roots, going back to when African and Indigenous peoples were bought, sold, traded and inherited in Canada’s system of chattel slavery, the impacts of which are still felt deeply by Black and Indigenous workers and communities. Black workers helped raise this nation, caring for others—first under duress, and today, out of necessity, yet their work and contributions aren’t properly valued,” said Larry Rousseau, CLC Executive Vice President. In addition to the hardships of unjust wages and working conditions, Black care workers face anti-Black racism, racial violence and abuse on the job. Without access to equal rights and protections, these inequities persist. Care work is necessary to the continued well-being of our families and communities, and the functioning of our economy. Despite the indispensable nature of this work, Canada’s care systems are failing its workers and all those who need care. The pandemic has exacerbated the existing cracks in our care systems. Black care workers helped build Canada and continue to provide the crucial care we all need and depend on. Let’s show up and show we care by fighting together to secure fair and decent work for Black care workers and committing to eradicating gender, racial and other inequities that are bound up with the undervaluing and maldistribution of care work