“By Us, For All”
— BLACK VANCOUVER
On June 25th, 2019 a group of young women, alongside a few men took the initiative to create a Vancouver-based page to try to better connect its few members of the black community. They studied the many existing pages already found in Vancouver, but instead of trying to tell other members of the black community what/how they should advance with the curating of their personal pages, they decided to utilize their own ideas to create a new page of their own. With the page cultivating a message of embracing black culture, it was only right to have an inclusive space, where not only black members of the community could come to connect or discuss, but all other members of the community could join to better educate themselves on black culture. None of the admins seek recognition in the creating process of this page, because at its core principle they had told themselves from the beginning not do this for the attention of themselves, but for a purpose that is bigger than them all. The goal was very simple: first connect all of the black members of the community through word of mouth, and once having gathered enough members on the platform, curate open discussions for the community to engage and part take in. The second goal was to actively welcome people from all backgrounds into the community, because that is a direct representation of how black culture is consumed. Black culture, in its many forms, is something that is consumed by people of all backgrounds all across the world. Regardless of being a page from Vancouver it could ,in its reality, curate for the world. To kickstart the growth that the Black Vancouver page required in order to reach the numbers it strove for, some of the admins reached out to Clement Isanganino because he had a higher following, who in agreement with the vision posted, informed his followers to follow @blackvancouver, kickstarting a snowball effect.
Overtime as the page grew, the admins started to connect with different black members of Vancouver whose engagement within the community aligned with the vision and values of Black Vancouver. One said person being Chris Mphande, a young black entrepreneur/promoter who reached out to the page prior to the creation of “Sweet X Sawa,” a night of infused Afro-beats music hosted at Fortune Sound Club, a company owned by Blueprint Events. Slowly but surely, Black Vancouver started to connect with different members of its community whose intent we could vouch for is as ours. They realized that though there may be 2000 individuals with good intentions, they can only relay information to a select representative who could best represent everybody in retrospect. We have unfortunately found that cities with a low percentage of black members in its community have the same problems. A large number of them stem from insensitivity, or a genuine lack of knowledge by non-black members towards black people. The admins didn’t know when the page would gain enough attention, but they knew that when it did they could not pass the opportunity to better educate its members on black culture. To better understand why some things can be highly disrespectful like telling someone that they aren’t black for not fitting into a stereotype, or touching a young black man’s afro, it has to be taught. Unfortunately sensitive matters like the two out of many possible scenarios, is not common knowledge to everybody, especially when they are not educated on the matter, nor have they been taught by parents/guardians, the system, home, or their community. To summarize in four words our groups message, it is “By Us, For All.”