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Don’t accept the status quo

By Ifeanyi Emesih

 

Standing still is the same as falling behind. But that hasn’t really been an issue for My Halifax Experience.

Ever since our first event, we’ve been going full steam ahead with growing it, the creating this magazine, and expanding of the My Halifax Experience platform.

In a little more than a year, we’ve added a job board, bursaries, and the new Diversity and Inclusion Index to the platform. All are designed to complement the event and the magazine.

Earlier this year we announced the next step forward was going to be a feature in the magazine to honour the Top 25 Immigrants in the Maritimes. We put the word out we’re looking for new Canadians who have made a significant contribution to their communities so we can recognize them for their involvement.

Now we’re ready to announce the next stage in development. The Top 25 has evolved into My East Coast Experience, an original TV series celebrating the diversity, culture, and successes of Atlantic Canadian immigrants. As the host, I’ll travel to meet newcomers who have chosen the Maritimes. (We’ll share details about when and where the show will air in future issues.)

Each episode will profile three unique immigrant stories, offering the opportunity to explore their differences and similarities. We’ll also talk with many lifelong Maritimers: educators, business owners, and industry leaders who have embraced the significant value of newcomers to this region.

This isn’t replacing our magazine. My Halifax Experience magazine will help research and spark compelling stories for the show, while the TV version will open us to new readers.

And this issue contains some of our most powerful stories so far.

Take our cover story, for example. Patricia Chakera is an example of someone who keeps moving forward. It would’ve been easy to retreat from the world after a high public murder case saw her family torn apart. Instead, she has thrown herself into myriad ventures, from higher education to fashion blogging. There’s no status quo for her either.

David Divine seemed to have the rest of his life laid out for him. A respected professor at Dalhousie University, he seemed destined to live out his life as an academic. Then tragedy struck. A horrific accident left him fighting for his life. His recovery was long, but he wasn’t prepared to accept the status quo. Instead he moved forward with a rediscovery of his roots and where he came from, a journey that has led him to Scotland and eventually the southern United States.

And the list goes on…

  • Isaac Mbaziira refused to be just another resumé on someone’s desk. He found a way to make himself stand out so he could avoid the status quo many newcomers face.
  • Kenya Dames writes a personal essay on how much her Halifax experience has helped her keep moving forward.
  • And Ana Jimenez-Jenkins found her way forward by embracing her culinary calling and bringing authentic Mexican flavours to her new home.

If that isn’t enough to convince you, stay tuned for our next edition this summer when we take a broader view of the Halifax experience and see how the move to Halifax affects entire families instead of just individuals. It’s a bit of a departure from our usual stories, but you know what they say about standing still.