Amplifying Black peoples’ voices

Published on
June 7, 2020
Time to read: 

On March 23, 2020 I published a blog which read in part “I'm looking forward to a new, more equitable normal a year from now. When everyone is treated with respect, regardless of what they do for work, their level of education, what language they speak, or any other ‘difference’.”

I also wrote “A world where everyone has a safe home, with potable water, electricity and food security.  A world where all children can thrive.”

In honour of the Black Lives Matter movement, this week’s blog is to amplify the voices of several Black people that I know and admire. I’ve had the honour of meeting and working with some of these people in real life. The others I’ve met, followed and learned from on Twitter.

I first met Abena Beloved Green at the Farmer's Market in Quinte West, where I bough her book "The Way We Hold On." Abena uses spoken word to create, engage, and elevate. Her poems address cultural, social, and environmental issues, relationships, and reflect on everyday life as a small-town raised, semi-nomadic, first-generation Canadian. 

I met Ernest Ogunleye, MSc, Chartered MCIPD, CPHR, SHRM-SCP, FRGS during leadership meetings held the day before the Human Resources Professional Association (HRPA) Annual Conference several years ago. I’ve had the honour of working with Ernest as we both volunteered to help plan the HRPA Eastern Ontario Conference. Ernest is always full of great ideas; he shaped the activity we used for a highly successful networking night last September. Ernest is the Owner and Principal Consultant of EON Performance Solutions which provides practical solutions to organizational challenges in people management, strategy and resource development.

I met Dionne Baker, Shop Owner, Online Sales & Digital and Marketing Strategist, Shop Boss Secrets  when she spoke at the “Pricing for Growth” Women in Business event during Quinte Business Week 2019. Dionne’s Ideal Customer Bootcamp was instrumental in helping me figure out who my preferred clients were. Dionne shares fabulous advice through her blog, courses and consulting.

I met Aileen Edwards, MA Leadership, Certified Coach, and a human resources maven, after Aileen and her business AME Consulting were featured by Hello Boss Girl.  I contacted Aileen and asked to meet her for lunch. Our lunch quickly morphed into a journey of discovery as we learned we shared many of the same core values and beliefs.

While I’m not a member of any political party. I keep an eye on what the Green Party of Canada is up to. I first heard of Annamie Paul, Green Party of Canada Leadership candidate, from the Bay of Quinte Green Party of Canada Electoral District Association. I attended Annamie’s Zoom meetings with people in our area, in both French and English. Annamie is striving to serve Canada through political action.Follow Annamie on Twitter @AnnamiePaul.

I started following the Honorable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Services, MP for York-South Weston, after others I follow shared one of his tweets about the importance of family. Ahmed is a first generation Canadian. Follow Ahmed on Twitter @HonAhmedHussen.

Omayra Issa, whose Twitter bio reads in part “Daughter of the Sahara. Bilingual reporter” shares news items predominantly from the Canadian Prairies. She is an excellent writer. Follow Omayra on Twitter @OmayraIssa.

I’d also like to mention Bernadine Evaristo, award winning author of “Girl, Woman, Other.” Bernadine won the 2019 Booker prize, in a tie for first place with a well-known white Canadian author. Shortly after the prize was announced I went to Chapters in Belleville to find and buy Bernadine’s book.  I walked past piles of the other author’s book to reach a computer to look it up. I found the store had 2 copies, which a staff member helped me locate. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and started following Bernadine on Twitter @BernadineEvari. The question is why weren’t the books of both 2019 winners of the Booker Prize featured at the entrance to the book store?