Shawna Paris-Hoyte appointed executive director of African Nova Scotian Justice Institute

She is experienced in social work, mediation, education, and business ownership

Shawna Paris-Hoyte appointed executive director of African Nova Scotian Justice Institute

The African Nova Scotian Justice Institute (ANSJI) has announced the appointment of Shawna Paris-Hoyte as its new executive director.

Paris-Hoyte, a fifth-generation African Nova Scotian, has a diverse background in law, social work, mediation, education, and business ownership. Her career has centred on equity, human rights, and advocacy, particularly for women, children, youth, and families.

Her achievements in the legal field include arguing precedent-setting cases at the Supreme Court of Canada and providing pro bono legal services, with a particular emphasis on human rights cases within the African Nova Scotian community. Paris-Hoyte's selection as executive director was initially announced in 2021 but was postponed due to her involvement as legal counsel in the Nova Scotia Mass Casualty Commission Public Inquiry. Robert Wright, a social worker and advocate for justice policy, served as acting director in the interim.

Paris-Hoyte's academic career spans three decades, primarily at Dalhousie University, where she has contributed to the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Health Professions. Her dedication to public service and volunteerism has been recognized through several awards, including the Order of Nova Scotia and the Queen Elizabeth II 70th Anniversary Platinum Jubilee medal.

In her new role at ANSJI, Paris-Hoyte will lead the organization's efforts to ensure fair, legal, and constitutional treatment for people of African descent in Nova Scotia and across Canada. The institute aims to address systemic issues that negatively impact the African Nova Scotian population, working through partnerships and collaboration within the justice sector.

"Taking on the role of Executive Director at the ANSJI is an honour. I am committed to leading the organization with passion and a deep understanding of the unique challenges faced by the African Nova Scotian community in the justice system,” Paris-Hoyte said. “As an organization, we will champion justice, equity and empowerment and build a brighter future for African Nova Scotians that will positively impact all Nova Scotians as we work together to create a more inclusive and equitable society."

Vanessa Fells, ANSJI board member, said, “We are thrilled to welcome Shawna Paris-Hoyte as Executive Director of the African Nova Scotian Justice Institute. We know that with her knowledge, experience and dedication to advancing social and justice issues in our community, she will lead the ANSJI into the future."

The African Nova Scotian Justice Institute was established in 2021 to address systemic Anti-Black racism in the justice system. Under Paris-Hoyte's leadership, the institute is expected to continue offering direct legal services and lead in justice policy and mental health services related to justice for African Nova Scotians and people of African descent.

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