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After the Apology A dialogue about what happens after a government apology

Two women are seated at a table looking at a program that says "After the Apology." Two other people are seen in the foreground seated at the same table.

Photo: CMHR, Vision Photo

Event details

What happens after a government apologizes for violations of human rights? What happens to the community? What work still lies ahead? Does an apology make a difference?

So far the Museum has engaged with communities in three Canadian cities to ask these questions and more. Each event explores a historical or contemporary human rights topic with a keynote presentation, an in-conversation session, and a moderated dialogue with the audience.

The Museum’s After the Apology series explores official government apologies for past and present injustices through a human rights lens. The aim is to encourage Canadians to have deeper and more respectful conversations, which are essential to bridging understanding and advancing human rights collectively.

Past events

A dialogue for reconciliation

Winnipeg, Manitoba – June 13, 2017

On June 8, 2008, Canada officially apologized to former students of Indian residential schools. Nine years later, at the Museum, participants connected with Elders, survivors, leaders and representatives from cultural communities to explore the impact of this apology and its inter-generational effects. How can we take positive action to move closer to reconciliation?

“It was an inspiring and much-needed dialogue, filled with learning, new relationships and shared perspectives.”

Other communities’ experiences with resisting discrimination and rights violations added valuable perspectives to the conversation.

Learning from historic injustices

Vancouver, BC – September 27, 2017 

Challenged by past human rights violations targeting Japanese Canadians and inspired by the resilience of survivors, this dialogue session explored the aftermath of the federal government apology, the subsequent struggle for redress and the relevant lessons for today.

“I was born here. But we [all] own the relationship with the past, the present and the future. I can’t fix what my ancestors did, but I can reach out to people now. I can be part of that relationship.” 

Other communities’ experiences with resisting discrimination and rights violations added valuable perspectives to the conversation. 

Africville

Halifax, Nova Scotia – October 24, 2018 

This dialogue event revolved around the 2010 apology the City of Halifax offered to the former residents of Africville for their forced relocation and loss of their community in the 1960s. The guided conversations delved into the apology process, lessons learned and further action on issues of systemic racism. 

“The apology validated that the residents’ fight, their heritage, their existence and their emotions are real. It doesn’t change everything, but it changes something.” 

The Museum acknowledges the contributions of the Africville Genealogy Society, Africville Museum & Africville Heritage Trust, the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission and the Delmore “Buddy” Daye Learning Institute. 

Dive deeper

Childhood denied

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A group of boys wearing pyjamas kneels on single beds with heads bowed and hands clasped as if in prayer. A woman stands in the room with her hands clasped in a similar manner.

The story of Africville

By Matthew McRae, Communications Advisor

If you’ve never heard of Africville, you’re not alone; the tragic story of this small Black community in Nova Scotia is not as well known as it should be.

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Two children looking at the camera and smiling

Japanese Canadian internment and the struggle for redress

By Matthew McRae, Communications Advisor

Before the outbreak of the Second World War, Lena Hayakawa lived what she describes as a very idyllic life.

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A black and white image of a woman and two children standing behind a pile of luggage and blankets and looking at the camera.

The story of the Komagata Maru

By Matthew McRae, Communications Advisor

When Nimrat Randhawa and her family immigrated to Canada in the summer of 2003, they arrived completely in the dark – literally.

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A young woman sits on a ledge in a large circular hall. She is smiling at the camera and wearing jeans, a dark blouse and a red jacket