Talking respect with Hagar Akua Prah (Human Rights Advisor)

- September 28, 2016

Human Rights Advisor Hagar Akua Prah. (Carter Hutton photo)
Human Rights Advisor Hagar Akua Prah. (Carter Hutton photo)

September 26-30 is Respect Week at Dalhousie, and all week we'll be publishing Q&As with just some of the individuals across the university who are working to make our community more safe and inclusive while also building a sense of pride. Learn more about Respect Week.

Name: Hagar Akua Prah

Hometown: Born in Ghana, raised in Kingston, ON, Canada

Role: Human Rights Advisor with Dal's Human Rights, Equity and Harassment Prevention (HREHP) office.

What does inclusion mean (look like) to you?
To me, inclusion means feeling a sense of belonging. The actions of those around me reinforce that sense of belonging. I think we all have a responsibility to look around and see who is not here and ask why, then figuring out how to change that reality. I think true inclusion should make sense to those who commit to it — it's not a favour but rather a right that shouldn't be an afterthought.

Inclusion is feeling that what the university espouses applies to you in every sense. Inclusion also means there are no rigid ideas of what is "normal." I know I'm truly included when I feel I'm a part of something rather than simply being in it. Having a place in the university's policies and practices — seeing your needs and realities reflected is essential, as is having the opportunity to shape those policies and practices.

Describe your office and how it support respect on campus.
The HREHP works to inform, advise, educate and respond in the areas of harassment, discrimination and sexual violence. By reinforcing Dalhousie's commitment to preventing and eliminating harassment, discrimination and sexual violence we are foster a culture of respect, inclusion and safety.

What value does an event like Respect Week have for you?
Respect Week exists to take stock of the values we aspire to but don't always practice on a day to day basis.

Why do you think it's important to Dalhousie?

We have an increasingly diverse community, in a place that sits on traditional territory of the Mi'kmaq First Nations people and where African Nova Scotian communities have a rich history and strong presence. This all intersecting with the various settler and immigrant cultures and peoples in the region — those from here and "from away." So Dalhousie, in my opinion, reflects a local and global village where we are challenged with issues of inclusivity, equity, reconciliation and social justice.

What is something about the Dalhousie community that makes you feel proud, safe and included?
Having a diverse team of passionate, knowledgable and dedicated staff at the HREHP gives be a sense of belonging and hope for the great possibilities in creating the kind of campus climate that respect week espouses. Also, seeing the strong Dalhousie representation at the Halifax Pride Parade — with Rocky the Ram and the Dal Tiger rockin' the float.

More Respect Week profiles


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