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Spinal Cord Injury Ontario

Voices Blog

SCIO Community Members Reflect on Black History Month

At the beginning of February, we reached out to the SCIO community to learn about their perspectives and relationship to Black History Month in the context of disability.

As we wrap up Black History Month, we have learned that there is a lack of data on this subject, and there is still work to be done to understand the implications of race and disability and how they intersect.

We spoke to two of our vibrant community members who are passionate about bringing about change and fostering an inclusive world, where everybody can thrive, regardless of racial background, ability and socioeconomic status.

Benjamin Kwarteng, who is actively involved with SCIO shared his thoughts on what Black History Month means to him.

“I don’t like the idea that Black History Month is something we focus on one month out of the year. It should be included in the education system to remind us of the sacrifices and injustice our ancestors had to endure. Black history month is a celebration, appreciating and recognizing how far I’ve come in removing the shame around my identity, a season to honour our ancestors and their hidden contributions and a time of reflection on the work still to be done. ”

Taylor Lindsay-Noel, a black female entrepreneur with a thriving business also reflected on what this month means to her in the context of living with a disability.

“I love being black,” she shares, “Everyone should be proud of their background. For me, having a platform is a great opportunity to amplify black owned businesses and donate to organizations like BLM. I am black, female and disabled, so there is lots of intersectionality that you don’t often see and I am extremely proud of it.”

Furthermore, Taylor touched on the importance of having the courage to open doors, both for oneself and for the generations to come.

“Often, when I enter a room, I am the only one there who is a black disabled woman. You are not always going to be represented in the rooms you enter. Sometimes, you have to be the first. You have to be comfortable being the first and making the space for those who will come after you. You need to have the courage to open doors for other people. You can advocate for others this way and speak up for the community. I have a busy workload, but I try to be part of committees, not just as a checkmark, but to enable genuine change.”

SCIO is proud to celebrate Black History Month and looks forward to learning more about the intersectionalities of race and disability.

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