Dwayne Provo, who is Black, was appointed today as the new Associate Deputy Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs. Provo announced his appointment in a letter shared today. The appointment is effective immediately.
“As a long-time provincial regional education officer serving African Nova Scotian learners, I’ve had the opportunity to work in communities across the province, and I’m looking forward to taking on this role and doing my best to bring community voices to the table at the senior government level,” Provo wrote in the letter.
“This is the first time that government has appointed a dedicated Associate Deputy to focus solely on the work of ANSA, and I am pleased to have the opportunity to support and champion this important work. I will work with Deputy Ministers and Associate Deputy Ministers across government to advance community issues and priorities and find solutions.”
Provo wrote that in the last 20 years he’s worked in health and education, including in roles as the former executive director of the Black Educators Association, and more recently, as a provincial regional education officer in the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.
The announcement of Provo’s appointment comes in the wake of a meeting last month between Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston, African Nova Scotian Affairs Minister Pat Dunn, and a team of prominent organizers and leaders within the Black community.
That meeting stemmed from a series of virtual meetings among a few hundred Black people across the province, upset at both the appointment of Pat Dunn, a white man, as both Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs and minister of the Office of Equity and Anti-Racism Initiatives, as well as the dismissals of Black female civil servants Dr. Késa Munroe-Anderson and Dr. OmiSoore Dryden.
“From the Black Family Meetings, we took the concerns of the community because it was clear from early reporting that the premier hadn’t heard from the community, or he didn’t understand that the community was upset about the dismissal of Dr. Anderson and the appointment of Dr. Dunn,” Carolann Wright, who attended September’s meeting, told the Examiner earlier today.
“Particularly in the context of Black Lives Matter, the Decade of People of African Descent … you can’t go backwards on this, you must go forward,” Wright said in an interview. “That strategy must be representative of a people that have been here for a very long time.”
In his letter, Provo said he’s “had a chance to start some initial conversations with community members” since accepting the new role.
“I know this is just a first step, and I look forward to having more conversations, and providing a vehicle for community voices to be heard within government,” Provo wrote.
Matthew Byard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Halifax Examiner