Back to Black: My journey
Updated: Mar 4, 2019
Growing up black and “fitting out” for most of my life, I am a mosaic of my experiences. This personal journey connected me with inspirational black women.
The month-long celebration encourages us to honour the significant role that Black people, both past and present, have played in shaping the mosaic of Canada and its values. —Hon. Donald Oliver, 2008
I’m not sure that Black History Month’s purpose is clear to me. As the Honourable Donald Oliver stated, should we reflect on the past and recognize and celebrate today’s diversity? This year I chose to celebrate by taking a personal journey to explore my relationship to Black History Month and its importance to me.
Over the past two weeks, I had the privilege of meeting with black Canadian women from varied backgrounds and experiences. Connecting over coffee and emails, I set out to learn about their life experiences, perspectives and views.
These amazing and inspirational women had different ideas and opinions about what Black History Month means to them and its importance. They shared heartfelt advice for young black girls and women looking to the future. Their moving reflections on growing up black in Canada and of role models who influenced them resonated deeply with me.
My own experiences were and are similar in some key ways: feeling alone and different, looking for approval and acceptance, being confident in the face of adversity, seeking insight into how I fit in, and wanting a more accepting and welcoming future for us all and for our children.
While I don’t have the importance and relevance of Black History Month all figured out yet, I feel deeply enriched by these encounters and their insights. Along the way I’ve made a few new friends and uncovered some potential collaborations. I hope that these conversations advanced these women’s’ perspectives on Black History Month and in some way, impacted their lives. I know they’ve changed mine.
Meet these changemakers on my blog, as I introduce them to you over the coming days of February.
About the author: I'm Michèle Newton, creator of this blog. I'm a black woman, born and raised in Canada, with a family of my own. This blog is my celebration of Black History Month and of black Canadian women.
Photo credit: Kristin Taylor