Working While Black in Nova Scotia

The rabble podcast network offers an alternative take on politics, entertainment, society, stories, community and life in general. All opinions belong to the podcaster; however, podcasters are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new podcasters -- contact us for details.

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support for as little as $5 per month!

On this week's episode of Talking Radical Radio, I speak with Folami Jones, Matthew Byard and Ben Sichel about the Working While Black in Nova Scotia project. It is a response to anti-Black racism in workplaces in the province, and it is organized around a website where people may anonymously share their experiences.

Amidst accounts of direct actions and demonstrations and strikes, it can be easy to forget the profound interconnection between stories and questions of power and justice. Harm and violence to so many are made to seem normal and legitimate through stories -- stories that tell us in a million different ways "That's just how things are" or "That's just what those people are like" or "They deserved it." Yet stories are also inevitably woven through efforts to challenge such unjust harm. The act of telling stories that name the violence, name the injustice -- the act of refusing to be silent, refusing to accept all those other, dominant stories that legitimize injustice and harm -- are crucial. Through stories, we build the relationships, the solidarity, the support, the collectivity that can be vital in surviving such unjust harms, and in finding ways to challenge and change them.

For all that a lot of white folks try to deny it, there is a centuries-long and ongoing legacy of stories that support the range of indignities, disadvantages, and outright harms that people of African descent on this continent continue have to navigate, including in workplace contexts. Working While Black in Nova Scotia, on the other hand, aims to collect, affirm, and mobilize people's stories of anti-Black racism in the workplace in the service of justice and change. The project brings together three organizations -- Ujaama, an organization that advocates on behalf of the Black community in Nova Scotia; The Kwacha House Cafe, a cafe and community space focused on addressing social inequities in general and with an emphasis on the African Nova Scotian community; and Solidarity Halifax, a non-sectarian, multi-issue, anti-capitalist organization. Emerging from some community dialogue sessions held by Ujaama, the project, its website, and the anonymously submitted stories of anti-Black racism in the workplace that it collects, document important aspects of everyday experience for African Nova Scotians. They have the potential to be a basis for mutual support among people who have these experiences, and for public anti-racist education among those who do not, as well as for being turned into tools for use in future community dialogues and change-processes. Jones, Byard and Sichel talk with me about the past and present of anti-Black racism in Nova Scotia, about the origins of the project, about the stories they've collected so far, and about their hopes for what the project can accomplish.

To learn more about Working While Black in Nova Scotia, click here.

Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada. We give you the chance to hear many different people that are facing many different struggles talk about what they do, why they do it, and how they do it, in the belief that such listening is a crucial step in strengthening all of our efforts to change the world. To learn more about the show in general, visit its website here. You can learn about suggesting topics for future shows here.

Talking Radical Radio is brought to you by Scott Neigh, a writer, media producer, and activist based in Sudbury, Ontario, and the author of two books examining Canadian history through the stories of activists.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable. has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.