Viola Desmond Day – almost, but not quite

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To the editor,
I am disappointed with the Liberal government’s decision regarding naming the new February Holiday.

Along with Viola Desmond’s family, I am pleased that the 2015 holiday is to be dedicated to Viola Desmond. But I am shocked by the government’s determination to deny Viola Desmond a permanent day, especially after so many individuals, municipalities, editorials and organizations, have called for naming the holiday “Viola Desmond Day.”

To be clear: The provincial government – not our school children — has decided that February 15 in 2015 will be named “Viola Desmond Day” — but only for that one year. The government is inviting school children to immediately name the holiday for the next 12 years – effectively blocking “Viola Desmond Day” for the future.

I cannot understand why the Liberal government – speaking through Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan and Communities, Culture and Heritage Minister Tony Ince – seems determined to deny Viola Desmond, a respected icon for Social Justice in Nova Scotia, the honour so many people have called for.

I agree with the Hon. Tony Ince who only a few days before this unfortunate announcement recalled the early opposition to African Heritage and Black History Month, saying “Today it is a great celebration… and it would be an honour to have an African Nova Scotian named for the holiday.”

I recommend that government reconsider their decision in light of the suggestion presented to them by Viola Desmond’s sister, Wanda Robson, to call the holiday “Viola Desmond Day – A Day To Honour All Those Who Have Fought for Social Justice in Nova Scotia.” Call it that now, and forever. In that way, year-by-year, during Black History Month, school children can still select people and events to also be celebrated – all under the consistent banner of “Viola Desmond Day.”

I recommend that Ms. Regan and Mr. Ince set an important example for our children – by correcting what I consider a mistake. I suggest they recognize the support “Viola Desmond Day” has received by calling the February Holiday “Viola Desmond Day — A Day To Honour All Those Who Have Fought for Social Justice in Nova Scotia.” Each year, the names chosen by our school children will come up for remembrance — all the while continuing to honour the woman who is remembered for her fight against racial discrimination and her success as an African-Nova Scotian businesswoman.

There is still time to make this right and to proclaim a permanent day for Viola Desmond.

Ronald Caplan, C.M.

Organizations: African Heritage, African Nova Scotian

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • steph
    March 02, 2014 - 19:28

    Just have one question: what does C.M. stand for? I vote for family day that way there is no fighting over the silky issue.

  • Ng resident
    March 02, 2014 - 00:03

    I agree just call it family day. As thats what most people do on holidays visit and relax with family and friends. Or nova scotia day that way it covers everyone. Changing it every year is rather stupid.

  • jazzman
    March 01, 2014 - 13:51

    Call it family day and leave it at that , The are many names in out history that are just as deserving , but naming it for the next 12 years is a bit stupid