Halifax, 2 August 2022 (TDI): The National Black Canadians Summit concluded recently with the historic Halifax Declaration demanding justice and equality for Black Canadians and people of African descent.

The three-day summit consisted of presentations, workshops, panel discussions and performances of poetry and music which celebrated Black culture in Canada.

The Emancipation Day

The Canadian province of Nova Scotia marked Emancipation Day for the second time with a ceremony in Halifax. Nova Scotia was also one of the first places in the world to launch the UN’s International Decade for People of African Descent.

August 1 is the anniversary of the day in 1834 when the Slavery Abolition Act abolished slavery in the British Empire. Canada’s federal and Nova Scotia governments had also voted last year to recognize the day as Emancipation Day.

The Halifax Declaration

Canadian Senator Wanda Thomas Bernard pioneered the Declaration. She had recently called for the Canadian government to formally apologize for slavery and make reparations to Black Canadians, as reported by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

Therefore, the Halifax Declaration was presented with a wide range of calls to action from institutions and all levels of government. The Declaration echoed Thomas Bernard’s call for an apology and reparations.

The UN at the National Black Canadians Summit

Dr Natalia Kanem, the executive director of the sexual and reproductive health agency of the United Nations, UNFPA, also attended the summit. She said the declaration would be an anchor for Black rights.

The official remarked, “In unity, there is strength.” Expressing this sentiment, she believed that the declaration was the culmination of the hopes of Black people from around the world. She concluded by remarking that the historic gesture at Halifax emphasizes that peace and justice go hand in hand.