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Reflection on Black History Month: Thoughts From A Young Black Professional.

Updated: Feb 29

Representation, a word we use everyday, yet it takes a different meaning during Black History Month. For as much progress as we have made in recognizing and elevating black stories throughout the years, we still have a long way to go in terms of representation in all spaces.  

For example, we can acknowledge how great it is that we now have a show depicting the life of a Haitian-Canadian family navigating through the intricacies of living in Montreal and to also have events celebrating our contributions to culture.  On the other hand, we have to face the light that even with so much information available and individuals educated in diversity, equity and inclusion, some of our favorite companies still have not taken the necessary steps to enlighten themselves on the issues and disparities we face as a community. And even in some instances, they do not see the need to include us and our voices in certain spaces. These are the stories we unfortunately see and hear far too often. 

What does representation mean and how do we want this to be embodied? We constantly have asked for the inequalities we face to be addressed and we’ve been given a version of this in the form of quotas. A percentage to depict how diverse an institution truly is. At times it seems we are no longer looked at for our capabilities but rather to attain a certain image.

As we continue to celebrate Black History Month moving forward, we must find the perfect balance of elevating and honouring our stories while simultaneously holding entities accountable in educating themselves and acknowledging us and all that we bring to spaces we enter. 

And let’s be clear, just because we are asking for recognition does not mean we want a seat at your table. In fact, we’ve built many of our own tables to fit all that we are. 

Written by: Gabrielle Telemaque


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