Shelburne Council: Name holiday in honour of Viola Desmond

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Greg Bennett
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Motion passes unanimously

Several years ago, Canada Post issued a commemorative stamp in Viola Desmond’s honour.

File photo

 The Town of Shelburne has added its voice to a growing chorus that wants the province to name a new Nova Scotia February holiday after Viola Desmond.

In making the motion to send a recommendation to the province, Councillor Roy O’Donnell highlighted Desmond’s courageous act against segregation. The black Halifax businesswoman was wrongfully arrested in November 1946 after she refused to give up her seat in the racially segregated Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow.

Councillor O’Donnell also pointed out in his motion the February holiday would fall during African Heritage Month

On Jan. 21, the Cape Breton Regional Municipality also unanimously endorsed a proposal to name the new February holiday Viola Desmond Day.

In April 2010, the government of Nova Scotia granted, posthumously, a free pardon to Viola Desmond and it offered an official apology to her family as well as to all members of the African Nova Scotian community.

Several years ago, Canada Post issued a commemorative stamp in her honour and when the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg officially opens its doors later this year, it will present to the public a permanent exhibit highlighting the Viola Desmond incident as an inspiring Canadian story of courage.

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