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Ancestral Roots Awards offers overdue recognition to young Black leaders

Young adults making a positive impact in African Nova Scotian communities don't get the accolades they deserve, say organizers.


Event host Kyah Sparks. - VIA INSTAGRAM
  • Event host Kyah Sparks.

An upcoming awards ceremony is currently accepting nominations for African Nova Scotians overcoming challenges and making a positive impact in their communities.

Kyah Sparks is gearing up to host the African Nova Scotian Communities Ancestral Roots Awards: Recognizing Young Adult Leaders, scheduled to take place on June 9.

“I feel like not a lot of African Nova Scotians in these categories of work get the recognition that I feel they really deserve,” says Sparks, who is a TV host for Eastlink. She also knows from experience how difficult it is to be the only Black person in a class.

“When I was in school and college, there was no one I could relate to. There was a huge cultural difference between me and my other classmates.”

Chanae Parsons of the Delmore “Buddy” Daye Learning Institute first approached Sparks with plans for the Ancestral Roots Awards. The idea is to formally recognize Black community members between the ages of 19 and 30 who have to break down barriers in their career path. There are awards in 12 categories, including education, justice and health.

“Why not celebrate and recognize a young African Nova Scotian that may be a makeup artist, or may be a nurse, or may be going to school to be a lawyer? These are really important career paths, and for people from the Black community to be pursuing these careers is huge,” says Sparks. “But you don’t see their names in the papers, you don’t hear about them on the radio.”

She’s hoping Ancestral Roots will change that.

“Some people don’t come from situations where it is easy. They’re not given things on a silver platter, so they definitely have to work a lot harder.”

Nominations for potential honourees are being accepted until Friday, April 13. The application form can be found here.

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