This February we were proud to shine a light on our Black community as we celebrated Black History Month. Read on to hear from four of WISE Toronto's finest members as they share thoughtful perspectives around what Black excellence means and why it’s important to prioritize intersectionality. PLUS - scroll down to soak in the wisdom of a special guest from one of our presenting partners, Jamila Wideman, Senior Vice President of Player Development, at the NBA.
We’re SO grateful to Shawna, Selam, Shauna, Letecia, Jamila, and our entire WISE Toronto community for helping to make this Black History Month our greatest celebration yet. The month may be over, but the recognition, conscious inclusion, and thoughtful programming will continue all year long. We hope you’ll join us!WHAT DOES BLACK EXCELLENCE MEAN TO YOU?
An unapologetic state of greatness- achieving success while still maintaining your dignity and integrity even in the face of barriers and adversities. Leading by example, inspiring and elevating each other to help strengthen and empower our community. - Shawna Morrison
Celebrating ourselves and our cultural roots at the highest level! – Selam Gebeyehu
Black Excellence in my eyes is an individual (who is black of course) that leads by example and someone that the Black community can look up to and be proud of. In a way it is the form of See It. Be It. Achieve It. For generations to come. – Shauna Bookal
Black excellence is the actualization of potential that defies boundaries, limitations, and barriers to success. It is the culmination of being grounded in the past, recognizing the current emerging leaders who are history in the making and actively designing spaces, opportunities and futures that are inclusive of the Black diaspora and experiences. - Letecia RoseWHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO YOU TO PRIORITIZE INTERSECTIONALITY?
It is imperative that intersectionality is prioritize because we all come to work and spaces as our whole selves. The intersecting and overlapping of our social identities can be both empowering and oppressing. It is important to note that there are a multiple ways in which one person can face discrimination and inequity. - Shawna Morrison
It is essential – as a community we must continue to elevate each other and encourage everyone to show up as their authentic self, regardless of the environment they are in. - Selam Gebeyehu
Intersectionality is important because it's acknowledging that we are not all the same (i.e., race and gender). For example, after the first attempt, a child will stop trying to fit a square in a circle hole - it will not work. Eventually they will find the square hole for it to go in. Once companies / organizations realize they cannot treat everyone the same, the better off the work environment will be for everyone. – Shauna Bookal
Intersectionality speaks to our background, ethnicity, gender identity, religious beliefs, experiences, and history, to name a few, that very often exists below the waterline. We use this lens to understand our identity and the uniqueness within the human experience that is not always seen, acknowledged, or understood. - Letecia Rose
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