Countering the Roots of Anti-Black Racism: From Atlantic Canada to Canada’s Complicity in the Crisis in Haiti

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Countering the Roots of Anti-Black Racism: From Atlantic Canada to Canada’s Complicity in the Crisis in Haiti
with  guest speakers Georges Gabrielle PaulJafrik Ayiti and El Jones 


Saturday, March 20 from 2-4pm Atlantic time

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About the event:

Over the past year Covid 19 has more clearly exposed injustices and inequalities that have long existed, and the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor by police in the US sparked the expansion of the Black Lives Matter movement. Protests spread around the world, including in Wabanaki/Atlantic Canada, where two indigenous people, Chantel Moore and Rodney Levi were shot and killed by police in June 2020 in separate incidents. Exposing the links between these events, the ensuing uprisings (could the uprisings be the protests & be considered included in the events?) and long standing and ongoing colonial (or maybe imperial?) foreign policy towards Haiti, guest speakers Georges Gabrielle PaulJafrik Ayiti and El Jones will discuss how systemic anti-Black racism affects policies in Atlantic Canada, and Canadian foreign policy towards Haiti, and about how these policies have impacted people’s lives both historically and in contemporary times

This event in the Politics of Hope series is co-sponsored by the Atlantic Regional Solidarity Network and Black Lives Matter, Fredericton.

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In Haiti protests continue against corruption and repression by the government of Jovenal Moïse, who has been ruling by decree since January 2020. 


The state of affairs in Haiti today has a lot to do with a history of colonization, exploitation and Haitian people’s continued attempts to control their own destiny. In 1804, after a sustained and ultimately successful rebellion against slavery in France’s most profitable plantation colony of St. Domingue, independence was declared. The new country was named Haiti after the indigenous name for the island, Ayti. The first Constitution abolished slavery permanently. Powerful, slave holding nations wouldn’t recognize Haiti and placed trade embargoes on it. In 1825, while the whole French Atlantic navy waited offshore, Haiti agreed to pay 150 million francs to France in compensation for loss of property. The formerly enslaved Haitians who had freed themselves were still seen as property by France, so Haiti was forced to pay for its own citizens. 


In 2004 Haiti celebrated the 200th anniversary of its independence. Leading up to these celebrations, the extremely popular democratically elected President, Jean Bertrand Aristide, demanded that France pay back US$ 21 billion, the then equivalent value of the indemnity that was paid to France plus 5% annual interest. The United States, France and Canada had been preparing for this anniversary year too. On February 29th, 2004 Canada assisted the United States and France to overthrow the government of President Jean Bertrand Aristide and Fanmi Lavalas. This coup and continued interference in the governance of Haiti has created so much tragedy in Haiti and is proof of the shallowness of any assertions by France, the United States or Canada that they are nations that defend human rights. 

The Politics of Hope: Building Resilient, Compassionate and Inclusive Communities

Sponsored by the Global Social Justice Project and Unama’ki College, Cape Breton University

In an era of wall building, violence, growing inequalities, and climate change, it is easy to despair. For many, the times call for louder and more direct ways of challenging the systems that collectively oppress us from patriarchy, neocolonialism and the military industrial complex to racism and speciesism. How do we effectively “decolonize” our minds and our daily practices to build a peaceful, radically inclusive and ecologically responsible politics? In this online series we will hear from activists, academics, community members and youth from Turtle Island (Canada) and around the world, who will share stories of how they are actively disrupting these systems of structural violence and what hopeful options they are exploring and living to create a new future.

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