By Blanche, 23, British Columbia
Black history is our story. The story of generations, peoples and nations. It is more than a month and more than a celebration. It is the embodiment of Black joy, Black hope, and Black ashes turned into beauty. It is love for one another and tears cried together.
Black history is parents bringing their children to a country they’ve only heard of, to struggle for a better life, trying to build a legacy, with their children becoming part of the Black Canadian story. Black history is maybe not knowing your ancestry, but knowing you come from greatness, and from a community that never gives up. Black history is breaking through the glass ceiling, going faster and further than anyone thought possible.
Black history is resilience. Strength. Boldness. Freedom. Innovation. Creativity.
Black history is the soon-to-be and the already heroes: William Hall. Portia White. Viola Desmond. Oscar Peterson. Angela James. Michaëlle Jean. Aubrey Graham. Alphonso Davies.
Black history is part of the foundation of Canada as we know it. It is beyond being the first doctor, the first elected official, the first film director, or the first engineer. It is being inspired by those who have come before and setting a path for those that are to come. It is looking back at the efforts that have been made and the hard work that has taken place. It is honouring the stories told and untold, and acknowledging the figures both hidden and seen.
Black history is evaluating where we are as a country, as organizations, and as individuals. It is recognizing the work that has been done and the work that is still to be done. It is fighting for the rights of every child and every human being, to not be discriminated against based on the colour of one’s skin. It is liberty at its finest and truth in its purest form.
Black history is my story. That of a young Black woman, born on the East Coast, raised on the West Coast. Going to school with not many people that looked like me. Constantly trying to prove myself in any space that I am in. Proudly wearing my hair like the crown that it is. Unashamedly correcting people that mispronounce my name or ask me where I’m from. Being accustomed to comments that no one ever thinks is offensive. Standing tall in the mirror, admiring the colour of my skin. Learning my native tongue, hoping to keep the language alive. Looking towards a future that is bright and kind.
There’s much that has been said, but this is the summary. Black history was, is and continues to be. It is not just a memory, but an uninterrupted heritage. It is the stories, the accomplishments, the inventions, and the experiences of Black people, past, present, and future. Black history is our story.