“Rising Stars” Youth Panel Discussion in Celebration of African Heritage Month
EVENT DETAILS - In celebration of African Heritage Month, His Honour Brigadier-General The Honourable J.J. Grant, CMM, ONS. CD (Ret'd), Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia will host a panel discussion with youth community leaders focusing on their experiences of community engagement. The panel will be moderated by former Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia The Honourable Mayann Francis. Special guest El Jones, HRM Poet Laureate, will deliver a poem to open the event. Following the discussion, His Honour will host an informal reception until 8:30pm where guests will have the opportunity to meet Their Honours and featured panelists.
Kayla Fells was born and raised in the scenic seaport of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Kayla is an ambitious and energetic, young lady that has been supporting others from a very young age. During her Junior High and High School years she obtained numerous awards and certificates including the ‘Principal’s Award’ and the “Silver Star Award”. Kayla maintained an honors grade average while participating in basketball, soccer, and track and Field; in addition to serving on many societies and committees including Student council, Drama Club, Year Book Committee, Human Rights Committee, and Gay Lesbian Transgendered Committee (GSL). Kayla won the Yarmouth Lions Club’s “Public Speak-out Award” in grade 12.
She is now attending the University of Kings enrolled in the Theatre and Costume Studies Program. She hopes to establish herself as a vibrant entrepreneur in Nova Scotia, once she opens a formal clothing store. In addition to a store she wants to create at least 1 outreach program for young woman, focusing on self-esteem and body image.
In 2011 she won the ‘Miss Friendship’ award in the Yarmouth Seafest Pageant. She then continued on to ‘Miss Nova Scotia International/Miss Maritimes’ pageant held in Moncton, New Brunswick where she won the title of ‘Miss Nova Scotia International’, in May of 2012. Kayla was employed as the Black Business Initiative- Business in Jammin Regional Coordinator. For the past two summers, she has conducting camps in Yarmouth, Shelburne and Digby which gave her the opportunity to show the youth in her communities how they can earn money, to value their own work, and understand what the value of money is for them.
Jasmine Hudson is an African Nova Scotian born and raised in the community of Cherry Brook, Nova Scotia. She attends Cherry United Baptist Church regularly.
In May 2011 she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Social Anthropology from Dalhousie University. During her undergrad she served as Vice-President of the Black United Students’ Association.
Currently she is a Juris Doctor candidate of the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University where she serves as the Vice-President of the Dalhousie Black Lawyer Students’ Association and a member of the Dalhousie Sports and Entertainment Law Society.
Jasmine has had the opportunity to work with the Association of Black Social Workers at their summer camp for the past two years. In addition, she has worked with the Black Educator Association’s Math Camp at Dalhousie University in 2011 and 2012.
The long history of social inequality and the civil rights struggles in Nova Scotia is what draws her in to the study of Law. According to Jasmine; “we have a wide population of indigenous Blacks and there aren’t enough Black lawyers in the province, as many leave to work elsewhere. However, I strongly feel that Black lawyers serve a crucial role in the province of Nova Scotia where we are still fighting battles against these inequalities in our justice system, as well as working to overcome a long legacy of oppression in other areas such as education”.
Overall, Jasmine is a very outgoing person who has a strong passion in working in the legal profession, with youth, and fashion.
Lindell Smith has lived in the North End of Halifax for 24 years and during that time he has become a strong young black male who is articulate, kind, creative and a strong role model in his community. During his years in High School Lindell was awarded the Lieutenant Governor Award. He worked as a Youth Ambassador for three years for the Crime Prevention project "Youth Opposing Gangs". Lindell also created a DVD called “Speak Up” about the issues of the North End Community both positive and negative, along with his perspective as a young black male living in the North End of Halifax. Also during that time he also worked with police and justice to advocate and speak for youth and organized events bringing youth and police together.
After High School Lindell attended and graduated from NSCC’s Recording Arts program, and was selected for their major advertising. He used his skills to create and become the co-founder of CentreLine Studio.
Lindell is a loving and committed father who sets a strong example for all young men in our communities of the value of education and of giving back to your own community. Lindell represents the values that are most important of hard work and selflessness.
Alvero Wiggins, as a young black male in Nova Scotia, has a lifelong connection to the Uniacke Square community he grew up in and continues to reside in. Currently he is program co-coordinator for Hope Blooms and St. George's YouthNet.
Alvero has facilitated many leadership summits, leadership camps and parkour workshops. He also continues to work with Leave Out Violence doing in school violence prevention. He is passionate about youth and seeks to challenge the stigmas cloaking the true identity of his valuable community. Photography helps him see the world from a different angle.
With goals of becoming a social entrepreneur doing community development through youth engagement, his unique perspective has brought change to organizations throughout the North end.
The Honourable Mayann E. Francis, ONS, BA, MPA, DHumL, DCL
Mayann Elizabeth Francis has blazed a trail far and wide from her birth in the working-class community of Sydney, Whitney Pier on Cape Breton Island.
The daughter of immigrant parents, in 2006 Ms. Francis became the 31st Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, the first African-Nova Scotian to hold the position.
Ms. Francis has degrees from Saint Mary’s University and New York University as well as certificates from Cornell University, Long Island University and the Atlantic School of Theology. She is the recipient of numerous awards.
Building on increasingly senior positions in the United States and Canada, she became Dalhousie University’s first employment equity officer and director and CEO of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission. She was also Nova Scotia’s Ombudsman. She was the first woman to hold this post. Prior to assuming the role of the Vice-Regal representative, Ms. Francis penned a regular column for The Chronicle Herald.
Since the conclusion of her tenure as Lieutenant Governor in 2012, Ms. Francis continues to be busy with numerous speaking engagements, fundraising, consulting, volunteering, writing, organizing motivational talks for the “Circle of Women” and recently she became a Eucharistic Minister in the Parish of the Cathedral Church of All Saints in Halifax, Nova Scotia.