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DISPATCH 03: Listening better to act better

June 2020

In light of what’s happening right now in North America, the shop has decided to listen rather than talk. We’ve decided to use our voices and our platform to amplify the words, ideas, and efforts of the communities whose voices need to be heard. Because it’s only by coming together that we can move forward and succeed in creating a safe space for all. And sometimes it’s by letting others speak that we can help the most. So here are a few suggestions for concrete ways that we, individually, can better the situation. By participating, sharing, and continuing to educate ourselves. #BlackLivesMatter

Give if you can

Because money can make a huge difference. If you’re in a position to do so, here’s a list of organizations that need your financial support right now. Hoodstock, originally created to start conversations and spur mobilizing initiatives to eliminate systemic inequalities and develop supportive communities, is currently raising funds to help residents of Montréal-Nord, a neighbourhood that’s been hard hit by COVID-19. Two other organizations, Pour 3 Points and Nos jeunes à cœur (Youth at Heart), are focused on giving disadvantaged youth the opportunity and a place to play sports, while also integrating coaches and resource people into their daily lives—all with the goal of bettering their lives and having a positive impact on their grades. There’s also Desta, an organization based in Little Burgundy that is committed to supporting Black youth aged 18 to 35 in reaching their educational, employability, and entrepreneurial goals. Finally, Afrique au Féminin is helping female residents of Parc-Extension weather the pandemic by raising funds that will go towards supporting local food banks

Support Black-owned businesses and organizations

A sure-fire and practical way to help marginalized communities is to support their businesses. Here are some easy ways to find out about products and services from Black-owned businesses. For starters, the soon-to-be-launched Unite & Prosper app is focused on building a technological village for and by Black communities, with a view to connect Black-owned businesses with consumers. Consider it a sort of Panier noir. But unlike Québec’s Panier bleu, which contributed greatly to the push here to buy local online, it encourages people to buy Black. And the next time you’re thinking about grabbing a bite to eat in or around Montréal, why not pick a Black-owned restaurant? The list is endless (and delicious!).

Never, ever stop educating yourself

It’s often said a society’s wealth is determined by its education. And this could not be more true than it is right at this moment. In order to better understand things, take action, and fight for change, we must first educate ourselves. And educate those around us. Librairie Racines, a bookstore in Montréal-Nord, offers a wide range of books and anthologies by Black authors. It’s also become an important place for diverse artists who, faced with a lack of representation of ethnic minorities, finally have a space of their own on the cultural scene. The bookstore has recently launched a fundraising campaign to offset the economic impact of COVID-19 and to continue to provide a space where the Black community can go to think, create, and share information. In a similar vein, feminist bookstore l’Euguélionne offers a wide selection of young adult books aimed at raising awareness of discrimination and issues of racism. And of course, there’s no shortage of books on the difficulties that minorities face. Now, all you have to do is read, think, and discuss.

Photo credit | Sacrée Frangine

Consommer et apprécier les œuvres d’artistes noirs

Que ce soit pour votre plaisir personnel ou pour une collaboration professionnelle, voici quelques artistes québécois issus de minorités qui valent la peine d’être découverts : Mathieu Cassendo, illustrateur et bédéiste qui se spécialise dans le genre pro-black et pro-queer; la chanteuse montréalaise Jeantalon; l’actrice Schelby Jean-Baptiste; Danny Laferrière et son regard sur la littérature québécoise noire, l’humoriste Xavier Boisrond, le photographe et réalisateur Schaël Marcéus, l’illustratrice et artiste multidisciplinaire Niti Marcelle Mueth, ou encore l’artiste Marilou Craft et sa poésie.

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