“You may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness, but still, like air, I’ll rise!”
I love this quote by Maya Angelou, because it speaks of moving forward with boldness and resiliency. Throughout the history of black people from slavery days to the present, black people as a race have faced many trials and tribulations yet we continue to rise and achieve greatness.
As a black woman, I am in awe at the resiliency and fight my ancestors put up in order to overcome slavery. I am forever in debt to them as without that resiliency and without that fighting spirit, freedom would not have been achieved. I am forever grateful for the great writers, scientists, doctors, political activists, teachers, inventors from the black community who have shown me that as a black woman anything is possible with hope, faith, determination, and a dream.
While I acknowledge black history month and love that we have a time period in which to celebrate the achievements of black people across the world. I also acknowledge that it is difficult to celebrate during this time without acknowledging the fear, the sadness, the anger, and the frustration that exists within the black community today. It is disheartening to know that there is still so much anger, social inequality, discrimination, racism, and bias direct at the black community from some people.
The recent killings of George Floyd, Daunte Wright, Ahmed Arbery just to name a few have left the black community angry, confused, and sad. Although it happened across the border the impact was felt worldwide. I was confused, I was angry and I felt the loss as if it was my father, my brother, my son, or my husband.
As a black woman I have experienced, discrimination, racism, and bias and it hasn’t been easy to process or understand, why I was treated differently based on the colour of my skin. However, I do not and will not let those negative experiences define me as a person. I rise above the hate because I truly believe that there is more love than hate in this world. I have faith in mankind and most importantly I have hope. We can only heal once we start to have open and honest discussions about racism, prejudice, and discrimination.
With the Diversity and Inclusivity work, Ontario Shores has now embarked on, I am hopeful and most importantly grateful. I was a part of the focus group and I was touched and moved by the stories I heard from all the participants. The organization has heard us and has acknowledged us by providing a safe platform to explore the issues and most importantly Diversity and Inclusion will now be a part of the organization's action plan. I am excited. I am renewed.
Black History is not only my history it is all of our histories. We must learn from the past and use it to make the world better not only for ourselves but for the future generation. We must not be afraid to stand against injustice and hate. This world is beautiful, but imagine how extraordinary it could be if we all learned to love and be more compassionate to each other, learned to respect each other more, and to see differences as necessary and beautiful in a respectful way.
Martin Luther King said: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” We need to continue to rise up together. Let’s continue to love each other and respect each other and remember in the end we are all human despite our differences. When the power of love overcomes hate, then and only then will we all know peace and collectiveness.
*Roxanne Cain is the Manager of the Central Scheduling and Staffing Office (CSSO) and Nursing Relief Pool (NRP) at Ontario Shores.