If you were in North End Halifax in February 2021, you might have picked up a special newspaper on your doorstep or at a local organization or business. The cover was colourful, depicting houses, buildings, the harbour, the MacDonald bridge. A Mi’kmaq Grand Council flag was flying proudly at the top. Other symbols on the cover included the Pan-African flag, Wije’winen symbol, the Métis flag, the Mi’kmaq eight -pointed star and Inuit tattoo markings. It bore the words:
Every One Every Day
Kjipuktuk – Halifax.
Wije’winen Come With Us
Building neighbourhoods for everyone, with everyone.
Partnership for pilot project
This newspaper was the first invitation for community members to be a part of a unique pilot project called Every One Every Day. Born out of a successful initiative in the UK called Participatory Cities, Every One Every Day was led by the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre and was made possible by United Way Halifax in partnership with Engage Nova Scotia, Participatory Canada, the Halifax Partnership, Inspiring Communities, the Community Sector Council of Nova Scotia and Develop Nova Scotia. It’s a community-building and neighbourhood connection project, with activities designed to bring people together to share knowledge, skills and understanding, regardless of their background.
Every One Every Day was developed with a very intentional reconciliation lens. Many activities involved elders and provided opportunities to share Indigenous culture and history. There were plenty of opportunities to share other cultures too, and folks took advantage.
Cynthia MacLean, neighbourhood coordinator for United Way Halifax and Every One Every Day, says the partnership with the Friendship Centre was key in making the project welcoming.
A lot of people were so curious and interested in the Friendship Centre and programs but didn’t know that it could be for them too.
Meanwhile, others already saw the Friendship Centre as a safe space, which also helped make it feel more accessible. “Extending that safe space to other people in the community, that’s the hook with Every One Every Day.”
Charlotte Bernard works at the Friendship Centre and was involved in Every One Every Day both as a presenter and participant. She led neighbourhood walks, a clean up and a dreamcatcher making session. “I really loved Every One Every Day,” says Charlotte. She speaks warmly about people she met through the program, who she likely wouldn’t have met under other circumstances. “One man who showed up out of nowhere to help clean up the neighbourhood was a veteran. It was such an honour to meet him.” Another participant who showed up to her dreamcatcher workshop only had the use of one hand. “When I saw her, I thought oh, she might need a little extra help. But later it was her that was helping others. That was really special.”
Charlotte also attended the tea and bannock sessions. The drop-in sessions were offered weekly and featured a different guest speaker each time. She appreciated hearing from different elders. “Just sitting and listening to them talk was interesting, seeing how similar and yet different their culture is.” She also acknowledged that having food at the sessions helped. “Sharing food is such a common denominator for people.”
The pilot project is complete, and both Cynthia and Charlotte hope that a long-term program will be a reality in the future. “It would be nice to have a couple things a week, to keep the community engaged and try something new,” says Charlotte.
It gives you something to do, you learn something and you meet beautiful people.
Facts & Stats
of participants surveyed made a new friend
of participants surveyed learned a new skill
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