Bearded Businessman



To ensure that the stories of Black Canadians are told, we must be the ones to hold the pen — starting with the history of Black Nova Scotians, a largely untold story that highlights how our community’s many contributions and innovations have gone unrecognized. Through our stories, we will ensure that future generations of Black Canadians know and take pride in their history and their identity. Black history is Canadian history.


With the support of the United Nations, the Legislative Assembly of Nova Scotia, major business leaders, cabinet ministers, government representatives, community leaders, youth and professionals, the Michaëlle Jean Foundation will host the third edition of the National Black Canadians Summit in Halifax, from March 18th to March 20th, 2022.


It will be a critical event under the international Decade for people of African Descent, bringing together hundreds of associations, professionals and community leaders, as well as a significant youth contingent.


With live web streaming, the Summit will also be made available to a global audience. We expect more than 1000 people, including up to 400 youth delegates (under 30) who are absolutelyexcited to be apart engaging conversation amoungst Canadian change makers.


March 18-20, 2022


For our guests who will be traveling, we are collaborating with Cambridge Suites and Prince George Hotel in downtown Halifax to offer a discount on the rooms. Please note that rooms are limited.


Studio Guestroom - Single & Double Rate - $129

Suites - Single & Double Rate - $179 

1583 Brunswick Street, 

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada  

B3J 3P5 

Telephone (902) 420-0555  

Fax (902) 420-9379 

In North America Dial Toll Free 1-800-565-1263


Deluxe Guestroom - Single & Double - $139 

1725 Market Street Halifax  

Nova Scotia, Canada 


Telephone (902) 425-1986  

Fax (902) 492-7834 

In North America Dial Toll Free 1-800-565-1567



The National Black Canadians Summit serves as a major meeting point for people of African Descent living in Canada, to share their experience, raise awareness about major challenges they face and to open a national conversation on ways to enhance social cohesion, as well as promote an inclusive, equitable and sustainable development for all Canadians. With an average of 1200 registrations per year, this is certainly one of the largest gatherings of its kind for Black Canadians. The Fondation Michaëlle Jean Foundation continues to massively mobilize thousands of Canadians, from the Black youth and their communities’ perspectives, towards an inclusive and Strategic National Plan of Action for the eradication of racial discrimination in Canada, with an in-depth examination of situations in the fields of justice, education, professional insertion, entrepreneurship, access to funds, migration, health, housing, economic development... and more.

Every year, the event’s mission remains the same: to collect experience-based data and tangible recommendations to continue to inform the “Canadian Strategic Action Plan for the International Decade for People of African Descent: 2017-2024” which draws on the strengths of initiatives across the country, identifies gaps in existing programs, and prioritizes areas where government support needs to be strengthened. Through a series of strategic planning sessions, panel discussions and presentations, participants from across Canada are invited to share their perspectives on topics such as justice, education, health, migration, wealth, poverty and much more.


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DeRico Symonds, Co-Chair

DeRico Symonds is a founding member of 3 non-profit organizations: ACCE (Arts, Culture, Community, Economics) a black operated non-profit organization in Halifax, GC902 (Game Changers 902), another black operated non-profit Halifax organization and social justice advocacy group located and CLT902 (Community Land Trust 902), a non-profit organization working to develop a community land trust to offer affording renting and owning housing options in Nova scotia.


With an extensive career in community work in racialized and most marginalized communities, DeRico has a wealth of community engagement experience. He provides counselling to marginalized youth and is called upon during incidences of gun violence in Halifax black community. He is also an Impact Race and Cultural Assessor (IRCA) with the African Nova Scotian Justice Institute.


DeRico holds an undergraduate degree in Child & Youth Study (2012) and completed a MEd in Counselling through Acadia University (2018).  DeRico also has his Canadian Counselling Certification through the Canadian Counselling & Psychotherapy Association of Canada.

DeRico Symonds is employed with the Province of Nova Scotia as a Senior Policy Analyst with the Office of Equity and Anti-Racism Initiatives.

" We recognize that words without actions are just dreams, that is why we plan to collectively formulate solutions and tangible actions for our governments, organizations and communities."- DeRico Symonds


Vanessa Fells, Co-Chair

Vanessa Fells was born into a large family in the African Nova Scotian community of Yarmouth. Her family believed that in order to support their community, they need a good education, economic freedom, and to be a critical thinker. Taking this to heart she completed 2 bachelor’s degrees in 6 years and then completed a Master's of Education in Afrocentric policy in 2013.


In 2015, Vanessa represented Canada at the United Nations Human Rights Fellowship Program for the International Decade for People of African Descent in Geneva, Switzerland.


Vanessa loves to research and write about Black history and is currently working on a children's book series with her twin sister Melissa.


Vanessa is dedicated to enhancing and advancing her community and she is currently the Director of Operations for the African Nova Scotia Decade for People of African Descent Coalition.

"We look forward to March 2022 and the meaningful conversations, actions, and collaborations that will continue to create space for all African Descent People to thrive."- Vanessa Fells 

Fists in Solidarity