2021 SUMMIT SERIES
April 20 - REIMAGINING JUSTICE
On April 20th, La Fondation Michaëlle Jean Foundation held the first virtual event in the The National Black Canadians Summit Series, titled Reimagining Justice. We thank all of the participants of this event and the thoughtful discussions and questions that were brought forth during our time together.
The discussion focused on new perspectives and solutions to anti-black racism and inequities within the justice system. Our wonderful speakers, El Jones, DeRico Symonds, April Howe and Suelyn Knight and moderator Emilie Nicolas told us their stories and offered key strategies for change from both social and systems perspectives. These discussions are only the first step towards the 2022 National Black Canadians Summit in Halifax and will pave the way for our future actions.
Thank you for allowing space for this important conversation, we look forward to the other events in our 2021 National Black Canadians Summit Series.
MEET THE SPEAKERS
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Emilie Nicolas is a columnist with Le Devoir and The Montreal Gazette, as well as a consultant and public speaker on public policy, equity, human rights, international cooperation, race and gender issues. Emilie is committed to social justice and has co-founded Quebec Inclusif (2013) as well as a coalition campaigning for equality and against systemic racism in Quebec (2016).
She now sits on the boards of the Canadian Race Relation Foundation, a crown corporation dedicated to antiracism, and Informed Opinions, a non-profit working to increase gender balance in the media.
Suelyn Knight is the Unit Commander and Manager of the Equity, Inclusion and Human Rights Unit with the Toronto Police Service where she leads a team of subject matter experts on driving progressive and inclusive change in the organization including leading key initiatives such as the Race-Based Data Collection Strategy and the Gender Diversity and Trans Inclusion Project along with the Workplace Well-being, Harassment and Discrimination Review.
El Jones is a spoken word poet, educator, journalist, and community activist living in African Nova Scotia. She was the fifth Poet Laureate of Halifax. In 2016, El was a recipient of the Burnley "Rocky" Jones human rights award for her community work and work in prison justice. She is a co-founder of the Black Power Hour, a live radio show with incarcerated people on CKDU that creates space for people inside to share their creative work and discuss contemporary social and political issues.
DeRico Symonds is born and raised in Halifax Nova Scotia. He grew up in the public housing community known as “The Pubs”. DeRico continues to tirelessly advocate for communities in Halifax and he is apart of many National conversations on issues including but not limited to: Poverty, Unemployment, Affordable Housing, Marginalization and Community Violence.
With over 20 years of experience in government, corporate and community leadership, April works with the Nova Scotia Department of Justice as a Senior Executive Advisor to the Deputy Minister. In addition to serving the province of Nova Scotia, she consults with organizations to support and guide them on their journey to become employers who practice diversity and inclusiveness and are equitable.
As a descendant of Africville, April was a founding member of the board and chaired the board of the Africville Heritage Trust.