Black History Month: Vernet’s Story

By Vernet Malcolm, RPN
Assisted Living Manager at Chartwell Grenadier

What does Black History Month mean to me?

Born in Jamaica, West Indies in the 60’s, I didn’t see colour; however, we heard remarks about colour differences. Growing up, we would see other people who looked lighter or darker, they were sometimes called names and looked upon as different. So, if we are seeing our own as different, why shouldn’t others?

As I get older and started learning about our history, it was not celebrated as much, because it appears to be the norm. Moving to Canada and continuing my education, history became more prominent in my mind. Learning about what people of colour have done makes me feel proud to be who I am.

As a proud Black woman, the fact that our history is celebrated makes me feel honoured and validated. We as any other culture have gone through rough times and come through on the other side. We are sometimes judged by the colour of our skin, rather than who we are as people.

Personally, this month provides an opportunity to celebrate and commemorate the legacy, history and achievements that people of African descent have made and continue to make, and recognize our commitment to equal rights, opportunity and freedom from discrimination.

I celebrate Black History Month because I am proud to know that we have such an impact on this world that we live in; the vast array of Black women and men that have paved the way for us to be where we are today.

We are gaining recognition for what we do instead of what we look like. This is so monumental that we are not just looked upon as a black man or a black woman. We are looked upon as an individual. An individual who has done things to contribute to society.

I am a mother of two and a grandmother of two boys. I want them to know their history and what it represents. Black History Month is teaching future generations that we have a place in history, and they will be the ones to continue the legacy that has been handed down. It is letting them know that even though there are diversities in life, they will be able to look back and said, “If they did it, so can I.”

I am so enamoured because I am still learning about my heritage and those who have come and gone before me. I celebrate Black History as a proud Black Canadian woman.