Dear Caring Adults,
Have you ever been star struck?
Well, it’s something that doesn’t happen to me very often but when it does; I become filled with childlike bliss!
Let me paint a picture for you… my cousin and I were walking down King St. in Toronto on a mild TIFF evening; we were minding our own business and enjoying the feel of the city.
I lowered my gaze for a few seconds and when I brought it back up again, I locked eyes with the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean; Canada’s first Black Governor General, renowned journalist and founder of Fondation Michaëlle Jean. I instantly knew that it was her and did my VERY best to stay composed but that didn’t happen. Thankfully, she was completely okay with it, graciously summoned me over and we shared a half an hour of meaningful pleasantries – an experience I’ll always remember.
My Caring Adults were Caribbean immigrants who took so much pride in exposing me to information about Black people who were changemakers. Anytime I was required to do a project for school where we had the freedom to choose who we researched, they encouraged me to do my research about someone Black or something that involved Caribbean and/or African culture.
When I was in grade six or seven, I did a project on the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean. At that time, she was a broadcast journalist and it was a challenge to find information about her. In those days, we had to whip out an encyclopedia or find an article to cite our findings. When she became the Governer General of Canada, I was in my final year studying Radio Broadcasting at Humber College and I remember many of my classmates not knowing who she was. I felt really happy that I already knew.
What an absolute joy to randomly run into her on that TIFF evening. To experience her in the flesh was such a pleasant and full circle moment for me. I had been gifted with the pleasure of meeting a true legend that I did a full on project about and was able to express gratitude for her being one of the trailblazers that Black Canadians and Black people in the diaspora needed.
This experience also showed me that through the guidance of my Caring Adults, my activism started at a very young age and naturally continued. With that said, I’d like to implore you to think about the ways that you guide your Lovely Learners’ activism and how that could contribute to how they navigate through the world when they grow into Caring Adults themselves.
My activism enabled me to be part of the solution which shows Black people in the positive light that we are to my peers and my educators throughout my school years. Evidently, I continue to do this now. It also has afforded me the opportunity to know that despite the challenges that Black people face, I am worthy of having an equitable life experience too.
My cousin mentioned that although she knows who The Honourable Michaëlle Jean is, she wouldn’t have recognized her as easily as I did. Let’s move towards affording our Lovely Learners with the gift of recognizing our forefathers and mothers through their own activism and I’d love to hear the ways of how you fuel this.
Remember, activism isn’t limited to race and culture but race and culture often play roles in how we show up in any form of activism that we lend our attention to.
Until next time,
Be Love, Be Light!