VIOLA DESMOND WON’T BE BUDGED launches in Toronto

Viola Desmond Won’t Be Budged, the new picture book written by Jody Nyasha Warner and illustrated by Richard Rudnicki, launched last night at 918 Bathurst in Toronto. Here are a few photos from the lively event:

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PHOTO CREDIT: Fred Horler

Thanks to everyone who made it out!

Viola DesmondIn Nova Scotia, in 1946, an usher in a movie theatre told Viola Desmond to move from her main floor seat up to the balcony. She refused to budge. Viola knew she was being asked to move because she was black. After all, she was the only black person downstairs. All the other black people were up in the balcony. In no time at all, the police arrived and took Viola to jail. The next day she was charged and fined, but she vowed to continue her struggle against such unfair rules. She refused to accept that being black meant she couldn’t sit where she wanted.

Viola’s determination gave strength and inspiration to her community at the time. She is an unsung hero of the North American struggle against injustice and racial discrimination whose story deserves to be widely known.

The African Canadian community in Nova Scotia is one of Canada’s oldest and most established black communities. Despite their history and contributions to the province the people in this community have a long experience of racially based injustice.

Like Claudette Colvin and Rosa Parks, who many years later, in 1955, refused to give up their bus seats in Alabama, Desmond’s act of refusal awakened people to the unacceptable nature of racism and began and process of bringing an end to racial segregation in Canada.

An afterword provides a glimpse of African Canadian history.

Visit the Viola Desmond Won’t Be Budged Facebook page!

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One thought on “VIOLA DESMOND WON’T BE BUDGED launches in Toronto

  1. JUST WANT TO COMMENT ON THIS BOOK. THIS GIVES ME GREAT PLEASURE TO KNOW THAT MY ANCESTOR STOOD FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS. VIOLA DESMOND IS MY MOTHER WHO WAS LILLIAN SMITHERS (GERO) FIRST COUSIN. I AM SO EXCITED TO READ THIS BOOK, I AM SO HAPPY TO REALIZE THAT WE AS THE PEOPLE NEED TO STAND UP FOR JUSTICE AND EXQUALITY. I ALSO A CHILD WHO GREW UP IN TORONTO, I MOVED FROM NOVA SCOTIA IN THE EARL 1950 AND WHEN TO SCHOOL ALL OF MY LIFE. IN A SCHOOL THAT DID NOT EVEN HAVE 1 BLACK PERSON. I WAS JUST RELATING TO A FRIEND THAT AFTER 50 YEARS I JUST CAME BACK IN CONTACT WITH, AND WAS LOOKING AT THE THINGS THAT TOOK PLACE WHEN I WAS A CHILD, THAT HAD TO STAND UP AND THE ONLY WAY I COULD SURVIVE WAS TO FIGHT, I WAS NOT PROUD OF WHAT I HAD TO DO, AND IF MY MOTHER AND FATHER HAD KNOWN, I WOULD HAVE TO CONTENDED WITH THE REPERCUSSION OF THAT SITUATION ALSO. I KNOW NOW THAT IT WAS GOD WHO WAS ALWAYS MY DEFENDER NO MATTER WHAT. AS I AM WAITING TO GO FORWARD IN MY MINISTRY I AGAIN WILL STAND UP AND DECLARE WHAT I BELIEVE TO BE A TRUTH. NO ONE CAN EVER CHANGE MY MIND, SO I HOPE ONE DAY AS VIOLA WENT FORTH, I ALSO AS A ANCESTOR SHALL STAND UP AND DECLARE WHO CHRIST IS AND THAT HE LIVES. MY MOTHER AS I SAY WAS LILLIAN GERO, AND SHE WAS THE FIRST BLACK TO WALK INTO THE HAIRDRESSER IN TRURO NOVA SCOTIA, AND INSISTED THAT SHE COULD HAVE HER HAIRCUT THERE. I JUST LEARNED THAT THEY WOULD PULL THE BLINDS DOWN SO NO ONE COULD SEE THE HAIRDRESSER CUTTING HER HAIR. BUT MOM INSISTED THAT THEY DO NOT PULL THE BLINDS. THIS IS JUST A LITTLE PIECE OF HISTORY THAT I HAVE LEARNED RECENTLY ALONG ON MY JOURNEY. MAY THERE ALWAYS BE PEOPLE WILLING TO STAND IN THE GAP FOR OTHERS. GOD BLESS YOU AND THANKS FOR THIS BOOK. IF AT ANYTIME YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONTACT ME PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SEND ME A NOTE ON MY EMAIL.

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