Welcome to a positive, healthy, Happy New Year!
Never have we needed a New Year more! Maybe we can think of 2021 as a do-over, a whole restart to move us forward from a year no one thinks of with any fondness. Personally, I think last year reinforced the fact that change is the only thing constant and gave us all the opportunity to stop and examine ourselves, reflect and provided a lot of learning and growth.
Canada has now embarked on its largest vaccination effort in its history with a goal of providing shots to everyone who is willing to take them by the end of September. That means the end of the pandemic is in sight and we can all heave a sigh of relief and start planning for getting back to normal. To being able to greet friends and family with an old fashioned handshake or quick hug, instead of banging elbows. To being able to take someone to lunch again without using a drive-through.
What we need to do now is focus on the positives we can look forward to in 2021, rather than dwelling on the tragedy and loss of 2020. And there are plenty of positive stories out there if you look for them. Take a look at the story in this issue of the first woman of colour elected to Halifax Municipal Council. Iona Stoddard brings a life-long passion for helping others to her new role as District 12 councillor and she hopes to be just the first of many women of colour joining council in the coming years.
Also in this issue is the story of Kourosh Rad, who took his love of planning in a totally different direction in early 2020 by opening a restaurant. A new restaurant just before the pandemic hit? How can that be a positive story? You’ll have to read it to see, but trust me it is.
Rad’s new venture easily falls into the category of small business. It’s a well-known truism that small business is the engine of our economy. This year, more than ever, we need to prove this saying right. The more we can patronize small, local operations, the faster we can restart our communities in the wake of the pandemic. They need our support and we need them to create jobs and bring back stability to our lives.
Small business is also a great source of diversity within our communities. Many shops are owned and run by those who have chosen the East Coast as their new home, bringing different experiences, different perspectives, and different stories to our part of the country. Celebrating this strength through diversity is what My East Coast Experience is all about. It’s also why we started the Mosaic Festival two years ago. Despite the challenges of 2020, the festival saw increased participation and revenues soar. This bodes well for the success of the 2021 festival, which should be able to welcome more people face-to-face thanks to a successful COVID vaccination program.