Educator Sylvia Parris has been appointed manager of the new African Nova Scotian Affairs Integration Office.
In her new role, she will provide leadership, strategic direction and policy advice that will help the municipality enhance its service delivery to Black residents.
“It’s an honour to be working with Halifax’s Regional Municipality (HRM) as they move forward with establishing the structural framework that will enhance the relationships with the Black Nova Scotian communities,” said Parris. “I look forward to working with council and the people at HRM to develop the necessary structures, programs and policies to improve service delivery.”
In February 2010, the Africville Genealogy Society and the municipality reached an agreement that included the establishment of a Black Nova Scotian Affairs function within the HRM.
Mayor Peter Kelly apologized to former residents of the bulldozed Black community and their descendants and announced that a special department at city hall will be created to deal with issues that affect Black Nova Scotians.
“Ms. Parris brings with her a wealth of valuable knowledge and experience,” said Kelly. “Her role will strengthen relationships and promote partnerships by helping HRM managers and council capitalize on opportunities for a review of current practices as they relate to interacting with Black Nova Scotian communities, leading to the development of a solid framework for future decision-making.”
One of 15 children, Parris took a one-year leave of absence from the provincial department of education, where she provided leadership for the integration of equity and diversity within the department and school boards across the province.
Her company – SVPAARIS Consulting – supports Black Nova Scotian communities and the broader community to develop and implement strategic plans and build capacity.
A graduate of St. Francis Xavier, St. Mary’s and Mount Saint Vincent universities, Parris is the president of the Nova Scotia Home for Coloured Children, vice-president of the Multicultural Association of Nova Scotia and member of the local chapter of the Congress of Black Women.
BY RON FANFAIR