We're better together- Collaboration
Updated: Mar 4, 2019
Let’s try and better understand each other with compassion and tolerance for diversity. There is only one world and we’re better together. —Michèle Newton
Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much. —Helen Keller
Thoughts on Black History Month
Thinking back, I don’t know when I became interested in Black History Month. I think it was after I married a black man and had my daughter. It became important to identify with our black culture, despite growing up without being immersed in it. I wanted my girl to understand that being black wasn’t always easy and there was a history to know about. I wanted her to know while as a minority it still may not be easy going forward, to never ever feel limited by her colour and to always hold on to hope.
I’m glad that there are more and more women of colour in the mainstream media and in our world who can be role models for her, including me. I love that she isn’t an “only” in her daily life.
I’m not ready to let go of Black History Month, especially as it’s only been officially recognized in Canada for 10 years, it’s far too soon to give up on it. Let’s use this month and other ongoing opportunities to try and better understand each other with compassion and tolerance for diversity. I’m going to sing the praises of and support black women whenever I can. I’m going to be the best role model I can for my daughter and for other young girls and women I have the privilege to know. There is only one world and we’re all part of it—we’re better together. —M.N.
Back to Black
By Michèle Newton Looking outside of myself for a new view
A group of strong wonderful women
Share their opinions thoughts and concerns
They enrich and enlighten me.
I feel torn now between two options
A month to keep black history and culture alive
And celebrate our gifts and successes
Versus a lifetime.
Will we not all be richer for the
art, music, education, spirituality,
community, justice, writing shared
with everyone everyday of our lives.
The journey to be recognized
Appreciated and understood is not
just for black people when
so many have struggles and face inequality.
We need to learn and better understand
To offer reconciliation and acceptance
To open our hearts to people’s differences
Start with a month and grow from there.
Who is Michèle
I have a “better together” philosophy towards business, community and life. My passion for growing relationships, nurturing collaborations and facilitating partnerships focuses on strengthening our community. Over twenty-five years in public relations and marketing, I’ve created opportunities for social good while working in various industry sectors. Now, a budding social entrepreneur, my community-minded approaches bring for-profit and not-for-profits together to impact change. I love having the opportunity to pursue my personal projects, like this blog.
Recognized as the Innisfil Y’s Philanthropist of the Year for my work with the Strong Kids Campaign 2011, volunteering is deeply rooted in my life. I’m involved with the Barrie Y Capital Campaign Marketing Committee and have been a Big Sister and In-School Mentor. A lifelong learner, I hold an MBA in Project Management, a Bachelor of Science in Biology, a Public Relations and a Marketing Certificate. In my spare time, I keep busy as a mother, spouse, amateur photographer, pianist, and freelance writer.
Surround yourself with people who believe in you and leave the rest. Always believe in yourself, then you’ll find that anything is possible. – Michèle
How about Role Models?
I grew up with the best woman role model you could ever have, my mum - who is passionate, educated, a community leader, independent, highly capable, philanthropic and very loving. I grew up in a home where we were all equal and colour didn’t matter. A girl can grow up to become anything she chooses when surrounded by such a supportive and close family.
There were no black role models in my world, but in some ways, it didn’t matter. I didn’t even know I was a different colour than my family until I was five years old, when I was rudely informed of it by my new classmates in England, where we moved that year.
I was always the only black girl around in my community and at school. That’s when it mattered.
It shapes you. For me, I often felt I didn’t fit in with anyone or any group, so I learned to be independent and confident. Or at least to appear so. They say that when you practice something you become it, so confidence is something I have always known.
I missed relating to a figure that looked like me or others who looked like me. I don’t know what, if anything, about me it may have changed. I still would have pursued higher education and followed my passions.
I’m a firm believer in things happening for a reason and especially meeting people for a reason.
I’m sure how this blog journey connects to these beliefs will continue to be revealed to me in the coming years. Perhaps it was only fitting when my fortune cookies recently advised me that:
-You are far more influential than you think.
-You will have good luck in business affairs.
-You will soon receive an unusual proposition.
To which I say, “so long self doubt”, “sounds encouraging” and “bring it on”!
Thank you for joining me on this journey. May we see each other again soon.
Photo by: Kristin Taylor
Editing by: Evie Newton (Thank you for everything, mum! <3)