I have a confession to make.
As a new immigrant to Canada, I did not always understand why we needed to have a month for Black History. I was born and raised in Nigeria and I have always known my “history”; I have always heard stories of the lives and accomplishments of my parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. I knew they were warriors, pioneers, entrepreneurs, firsts in their fields and industries.
Beyond my direct ancestry, I was also taught in elementary school about the many brave exploits of Nigerian heroes like Queen Moremi, Funmi Ransome – Kuti, Queen Amina of Zaria, and Madam Tinubu. I took for granted that the knowledge, surety, and confidence I had in my history and the way it shaped me were available to all. I just assumed that every Black person had the same exposure to the beauty, intelligence, and strength of heroes that were of Black heritage. I also took for granted the effect that knowing these stories had on me, I am unashamedly a strong, Black woman, and knowing the stories of those that have gone before me plays a huge part in who I am.
It was not until I moved to Canada that I realized not everyone of my skin color knew these stories or had examples of strong Black people that have done and are doing amazing things to spur them on. I interacted with some amazing young Black Canadians who opened my eyes. Their perspective changed my lenses, and I began to appreciate more the differences in the spectrum of the Black experience.