Friday, June 10, 2011

updates on brooks and carvery fights for justice in halifax magazine

the new halifax is on the stands, with a great cover story on activist/comedian/recovering lawyer candy palmater. given that last month's cover was about connie brooks's fight for justice, that means back to back issues focused on strong mi'kmaq women - not something you see everyday in nova scotia.

i have a couple of updates, which i'll post below. one was the memorial march for tanya brooks and the other was eddie carvery's eviction letter.


Connie Brooks fights for justice

By Jon Tattrie | Jun 1, 2011
The family of Tanya Jean Brooks endured heavy rain and wind to hold two memorial walks to mark the second anniversary of the Millbrook woman’s unsolved murder in May. (See the cover story “Justice delayed” from Halifax Magazine, May 2011).
A frail Connie Brooks led the marches of family, friends and supporters of her daughter first in Millbrook First Nation and then in Halifax. The Halifax march from the Mi’kmaq Friendship Centre to the Halifax Regional Police headquarters on Gottingen Street was followed by an intense smudging ceremony and service in the centre.
Tanya Brooks, 35, was found dead at Halifax’s St Patrick’s-Alexander School in 2009 and police have made no arrests in the case. Four officers attended the memorial, but Tanya’s brother Quissy Brooks says it wasn’t enough to bring justice for his “best friend.”
“Today was very difficult,” he says. “I was incarcerated when my sister was murdered. It hurts like hell. Imagine losing your sister to murder on Mother’s Day, of all days.” Quissy Brooks chokes back tears. “There’s a lot of support here—that’s why we come here. This is our people.”
He says if his sister had been white, police would be working flat out to solve the case, but because she was Mi’kmaq her case is being forgotten. Marching is the family’s way of keeping Tanya’s memory alive. “My mother is as tough as nails, but later on, it’ll affect her,” he says. “Healing is happening. This whole thing is about healing a bunch of people—not only the ones who are alive, but also those who are deceased.”
Cheyenne Labrador led a group of Mi’kmaq women in drumming and chanting as part of the memorial. The group performed the Honour song, the Strong Womansong and White Skies. “Being at the drum is like nothing you will ever experience in your life,” Labrador says. “The beat of the drum is Mother Earth’s heartbeat. While we’re singing and we’re drumming, we’re praying for [Tanya].”


Last Africvillian evicted

By Jon Tattrie
The Africville Heritage Trust has evicted long-time protester Eddie Carvery from his site near Seaview Park. Carvery, who began his protest in 1970 after Halifax evicted residents of Africville and then bulldozed the community, received a letter dated April 29, telling him he had to clear out by May 5.
AHT chairwoman Daurene Lewis said Carvery had to vacate AHT lands to allow the construction of a planned replica church. In an interview with Halifax Magazine days before she issued the letter, Lewis said he had to leave all AHT property. “It’s his decision where he goes,” she said. Carvery wasn’t offered compensation for losing his winterized hut, which will be demolished.
The letter goes on to warn Carvery of the consequences of staying. “We would prefer not to call upon more formal measures to ensure that plans to construct the church can move ahead,” Lewis writes.
On May 5, Carvery and his brother Victor moved his trailer and possessions to the nearby waterfront on Halifax Port Authority land slated to be transferred to AHT.
“My protest isn’t over. I’m fighting for the same reason I started – I’m fighting racism, I’m fighting for a public inquiry, I’m fighting for justice. I’m one of the last residents in Africville,” Eddie Carvery said. “Once again they’re taking my home and they’re not giving me the dignity or satisfaction to know that I’ve done a job that is of any importance.”
Meanwhile, AHT has recruited an executive director, though the name had not been made public as of press time. The tender to build the church has also been issued and Lewis said she is confident it will be up and running before the Africville reunion in July. Construction had not started as of early May.
The eviction notice and a video interview with Carvery can be viewed at Halifaxmag.com.

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