June 13, 2020

Black Lives Matter.

News Article

Two weeks ago, we decided to stand up and speak out against racism. Our team made the decision to utilize our platform to influence our nano and micro-influencers.

BLM - No Justice No Peace

We reached out to our Black influencer community and listened to their stories. We reached out to small Black-owned businesses and listened to their stories. We took advantage of #Blackouttuesday to educate ourselves and listened to our Black community.

Then, we used our platform to speak up.

We amplified the often unheard voices of our Black creators, shared their stories and experiences with our community, provided various resources, and encouraged love.

But, enough about us. Today, our Swayer Spotlight is shining on our talented Black creators. Read on to hear their voices and note the relevant resources on how you can help eliminate injustice and discrimination.

Image and Quote by Maya Angelou

“Black Lives Matter is a movement that is a call to action for our society against state-sanctioned violence.”

“It’s the symbol of a revolution. This movement represents a change in society that is long overdue. I can’t believe we still have to fight for this in 2020 and yet here we are. Therefore, let’s make sure this time Change is done for good. For my future kids, nieces, and nephew, for my mom who works 7 days a week, for my 99-year-old grandma who started from nothing and made sure my family always had the support they needed to be the best version of themselves.”

“Blacks Lives Matter is more than a hashtag! The BLM Movement is about real people and real lives! It’s about our youth, our families, our friends, our entire community. We are uniting and fighting for basic human rights against police brutality and systematic racism!”

“In my eyes, this wave of the Black Lives Matter movement truly signifies the beginning of change for Black people around the entire world. It is continuing to shed light on the inequity, mistreatment, and violence that the black community has been facing for an eternity.

People have their eyes glued to what is happening. People are being called out for their racism. Guilt, pity, and clout support are being called out, as well. People are becoming more aware of the change that is coming. A change that is going to take a marathon to dismantle.

Systemic racism is deeply ingrained in society and it will take much more than a sprint to restructure. With the Black Lives Matter movement, we all have to come together for what is right. We all need to ensure that we play our part and are well rested for the marathon of a lifetime.”

BLM - Quote and Image

“As a first-generation Canadian- born to Jamaican parents my experience as a black woman in Canada has been an interesting one. I grew up in the outskirts of Toronto so I’ve had many instances where I had to work 10x harder to get my voice heard or even advocate for myself.”

“While growing up in Africa, I never really thought there was anything different about my skin colour. Fast forward to three years ago, I moved abroad, and then I began to notice the differences. People would stare whenever I went out, there was an insufficient representation of my skin type in ads and lots of popular brands didn’t think it was necessary to embrace inclusivity and create product variations that cater to us. I also experienced some ill-treatment at some of the places I worked. Doing odd jobs as an educated black person just to make ends meet. It’s been a daily struggle but it shouldn’t continue like this, for the sake of our children and generations to come.”

“I have to be conscious and aware of how I am perceived by others because of the color of my skin. There are many people I know that have bleached their skin at a young age because they are struggling with racism and colorism within their own communities. “

“There is so much that I could say regarding this question and I don’t believe anything I say will remotely begin to give a peek into how my life experiences or any other person of colours has been, at that. I will say that my mother told me from a very young age that as a black woman I would always have to work 10x harder in life, as I am not only Black but also a woman.

Women of colour, faced with more barriers, are paid 25% less than white men, and our opinions/ideas are disregarded and undermined on a daily basis. As a black woman, you must always fit into this imaginary box that other people have created for you. As a black woman, you’re not allowed to make mistakes or be wrong. You’re not allowed to show negative emotions without people labeling you as the angry black woman and you are overly sexualized from an extremely young age. The list goes on and you could honestly be here all day reading about the struggles, differences, and inequalities that women of colour face in life.”

“As a black woman born and raised in Montreal, racism usually shows up in very sneaky ways. It’s microaggressions on the daily. “Wow, your hair is so curly and long. it does not look like the typical black person hair, all frizzy and wild.”, “You’re so different from other black people I’ve met”, “You’re so pretty for a black girl”, “You really don’t act ghetto and that’s what I like about you”. People who say those kinds of things might not realize how racist these comments are. It’s like if it was not possible for each person in our community to be different, and bring something unique to the table. Don’t let stereotypes dictate your thoughts. Each person is special and deserves to be seen for who they truly are, regardless of their ethnicity or skin color.”

“Our communities consist of many cultures and growing up I have experienced a lot of racial profiling and stereotyping. I have been in uncomfortable scenarios at work, school, and even within my own community. It seems as though “American racism” has had the same influence on many cultures towards the Black Race. It definitely happens here and all around the world but everyone has the “brush it under the rug” behavior. Growing up I would always shy away from standing up for myself but as a woman, I feel the right and the need to speak up!”

Image & Quote by Barack Obama

How are you using your platform to raise awareness regarding the BLM movement?

“As an influencer, I have been sharing tons of resources on how to contribute and educate yourself. It is especially important to show your support. You can sign petitions, donate, support a Black-Owned Business and so much more!”

Before now, I’ve always been an advocate for Black Women especially for the fact that we as POC are not given equal chances even when we have the required skills/ educational qualifications for these opportunities. I educate my diverse audience about the struggle of being black and I usually share some of my personal experiences. I also started a clothing line that celebrates #blackgirlmagic so that more black women are aware that they are beautiful and equally important.”

“I think what people are missing is the fact that Black Lives Matter is more than just a movement, it’s our lives. I believe there are different lanes when it comes to the BLM movement that people can occupy from disruptor to caregiver, and storyteller to activist.

Some days I’m extremely active with posting about what is happening on the ground, and other days I’m resting and holding back tears the entire day. At times, I’m holding space for my loved ones, and other times I’m having open conversations and educating those around me on a variety of issues pertaining to the lives of people of colour.

My platform has always been a space where I shed light on my personal life experiences and the stigma of mental health issues within the black community. I’ve also ensured to always share and highlight black businesses and other black creators, which I will continue to do forever. Just because BLM is trending again doesn’t mean the black community hasn’t been working hard at coming together in all industries to make a change.”

“I’ve been using my voice on social media to start the difficult conversations with my peers; Opening people’s eyes to real-life examples of racism is the first step. Encouraging people to educate themselves on how to be anti-racist and an ally is the second step.

Since it’s a very “hush-hush” subject in Canada, most of my friends did not believe it was as bad as I was claiming it to be. It took screenshots, videos, and conversations to help them understand that racism in our country is a real thing. It’s closer than you think it is which is why we need to continue having those conversations and fighting for our rights.

The other thing I have been doing is sharing positive videos about my community. Fun Tiktok videos of peaceful BLM protests are my favorite and I want to show people that stereotypes about the black community can be broken through a team effort and conversation.”

BLM blog quote and image

What can people do to help this movement online/offline?

“I think everyone has a part to play, it’s not enough to put up a graphic photo of Black Lives Matter on your feed. White people all over the world have to take a stand and acknowledge the fact that they have been enjoying white privilege while black people suffered. It’s time to re-orientate your minds and stop seeing black people as threats. We all need to rid our hearts and society of the secretly harbored anti-black sentiments. Many won’t admit it but it’s there. Teach all children to see humans beyond the colour of their skin. Respect our differences, speak up when you see injustice happening, give POC equal opportunities, and treat them with love.”

“One of the biggest things to help the movement is to donate. But I know that donating can be hard for some especially during this time. That’s when you look around you. If you work in an office and you see injustice- help your fellow black co-worker out. SPEAK UP! If you’re an influencer, share other black content creators. Highlight them in your stories/feed or introduce them to PR companies that they might not have a connection with it. If you have power or privilege use IT.”

“People can continue to listen and educate themselves while connecting to organizations that support people in the black community to see how they can create positive change in their own area. “

“First of all, I think the most important thing that people can do to help the movement is to LISTEN. Have empathy, understanding, compassion, and awareness for the lives and complexities of Black people. There are no more excuses, ignorance can no longer be accepted. Non-POC need to make Google their best friend because it’s not the responsibility of Black people to teach anymore – we’re exhausted. We’ve worked tirelessly to try and make people understand that our lives have value for decades. You can help this movement by unlearning the racial biases that you were conditioned to have to help dismantle the system.

Also, educate yourself and support Black people by watching documentaries like 13th or When They See Us, reading books like The Skin We’re In by Desmond Cole, The Summer We Got Free by Mia Mckenzie and Policing Black Lives by Robyn Maynard, and diversifying your social media timelines by following accounts like @TaniaMarisa, @NoireGirlsPlant, @iRiseYoga, @FrancetaJohnson, @EboniCurlsBlog, @Lilasmia and Me (of course lol).

This is only a place to start. Doing this work is going to be uncomfortable, but that is where growth happens. There is an entire system that needs to be changed and it’s going to take a lot of unlearning, so go out there and research, have open conversations, and be empathetic. “

“The first thing I would encourage you to do is to start educating yourself on the subject. Posting a black square on #BlackoutTuesday was a start, but it is not enough if we want REAL change. This square you posted should be your channel of communication. It should help you amplify melanated coices. Share your learnings about BLM with your friends, family, peers. Real change starts at home. Get involved in your local community, and support them financially if you can. If you witness racism, don’t say silent. Speak up.

If you’re in Montreal, I would like to encourage you to donate the following organizations which support the black or indigenous communities:

The last thing I will ask of you is to check on your black friends. These are very trying times and every day is rougher than the other, both mentally and physically. Call them, text them, and show your support to them.”

BLM blog quote & image

Their cries, anger, and voices are being echoed across the world. We hope the message from our Black nano and micro-influencers have resonated with you and we encourage you to speak out, listen, advocate for change, and continue the conversation.

Jenn, Tolu, Lesley-Ann, Shawnaci, Ketsia, and Manda – thank you for your bravery and for allowing us to amplify your voices on our platform. We will always stand by you.

BLM blog quote & image

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