Media Advisory - Legal Profession Commemorates 200th Anniversary of Abolition of Slave Trade at International Conference

    March 14, 2008, Ottawa, ON

    TORONTO, Feb. 14 /CNW/ - The Law Society of Upper Canada, Canadian
Association of Black Lawyers and Black Law Students' Association of Canada,
along with the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Law, are hosting a reception
to mark the 200th Anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade - a featured
event of the international conference "Routes to Freedom: Reflections on the
Bicentenary of the Abolition of the Slave Trade."
    The reception will feature The Honourable Madam Justice Rosalie S. Abella
of the Supreme Court of Canada, who will share her reflections on the historic
moment and readings from M. NourbeSe Adamu Philip, a poet, essayist, novelist,
playwright, and lawyer. NourbeSe Philip is an award-winning writer who
authored the poem Zong! - A story of the murder of one hundred and fifty
Africans on the slave ship Zong in 1781.
    The "Routes to Freedom" conference, funded by the Government of Ontario,
is being held in Ottawa, March 14-16, 2008. It celebrates the elimination of
slavery in the British Empire and discusses its impact on institutional and
societal racism. Legal academics, historians, political economists and
international writers will speak to the historic realities of the
transatlantic slave trade, celebrate the accomplishments of African peoples
and heighten awareness of the complexities of current conditions for the
descendants of that pivotal historic moment.

    Reception   Friday, March 14, 2008
                18:30 to 20:30
                Ottawa Court House Atrium
                161 Elgin Street, Ottawa, ON

    Admission to the reception is free. Attendance must be confirmed and is
subject to space availability. An RSVP is required by phone: 1-800-668-7380,
ext. 3413, 416-947-3413, or e-mail

    Conference  March 14-16, 2008
                University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law
                Fauteux Hall, 57 Louis Pasteur Street
                Gowlings Moot Court Rooms

    For more details and to register for the conference, please visit: and go to the Conference - Registration
    The conference is chaired by Professor Joanne St. Lewis from the
University of Ottawa's Faculty of Law, Common Law Section, who recently
received the DreamKEEPERS' Life Achievement award from the Canadian Martin
Luther King Coalition.

    Other featured events associated with the "Routes to Freedom" conference
    Mini film festival (March 1-2, 2008)

    -   The Jock Turcot University Centre, University of Ottawa; admission $2
    -   Several featured short- and full-length films will precede the
        conference, including documentaries A Winter Tale, Strange Fruit,
        Amazing Grace and Return to Gorée Island

    Art Exhibit (March 7-22, 2008)

    -   The Cube Gallery in Ottawa, 7 Hamilton Avenue North
    -   Featuring ten contemporary African-Canadian artists, whose Honorary
        Patron is the Honourable Roy McMurtry, former Chief Justice of

    Youth Forum (Friday, March 14, 2008)

    -   60 Ottawa-area youth, aged 14 to 18, will share their views on the
        slave trade and its consequences in both Ontario and Canada. They
        will watch a film about slavery, become jurors in a mock slave trial,
        learn about laws affecting child labour and discuss what can be done
        on a community level to help children in other countries. Professor
        St. Lewis will develop a teaching guide for high school teachers
        based upon the conference materials.

    Multi-disciplinary, two-and-a-half-day symposium (Saturday, March 15,

    -   Featuring a panel of legal academics, historians, political
        economists and writers from Canada, the United States, Africa,
        Europe, and Asia
    -   Discussions include the historic realities of the transatlantic slave
        trade, contemporary forms of resistance, women and slave resistance,
        culture and identity, as well as functional amnesia.
    -   Celebrated author Lawrence Hill will read an extract from his best-
        selling book, The Book of Negroes

    Gala (Saturday, March 15, 2008)

    -   Fairmont Château Laurier
    -   Presided over by a well-known human rights activist
    -   Scholarship for LL.B. student and a fellowship for a Doctoral student
        from Africa to be announced

    The Law Society is pleased to once again partner with the Canadian
Association of Black Lawyers and the Black Law Students' Association of Canada
to promote equity and diversity in the legal profession and increase awareness
and understanding of issues relating to the rights and needs of
equality-seeking communities. Ensuring access to justice and creating a more
representative and inclusive legal profession remains a priority for the Law

    Media interested in attending are encouraged to confirm their attendance
in advance if possible, to help ensure adequate space and audio requirements.

For further information:

For further information: Media contacts: Susan Tonkin, Communications
Advisor, Law Society of Upper Canada, (416) 947-7605,;
Amanda Leslie, Communications Officer, University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law,
(613) 562-5800 ext. 2832,

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