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Black History Month – How Chinelo Uchegbu is inspiring the next generation to celebrate and embrace their unique lived experiences

This Black History Month, we’re shining a light on the lived experiences of Black Canadians, inside and outside of Rogers, who are inspiring the next generation of Black youth to reach their full potential.

Today, Chinelo Uchegbu, Field Sales Coordinator, shares how her strong connection to her family’s values, passed down from her parents, has inspired her to raise her three children to embrace and celebrate their unique identities and perspectives

Black History Month is an important time to amplify voices and shine a light on the experiences of the Black community. Why do you believe that this time is especially important for youth and making Black futures possible?

As a mother of three children who were each born in different parts of the Middle East, Asia and Europe-Black History Month is a constant reminder to my kids that Black is beautiful and important everywhere. Having experienced life in five countries with them, it’s validating for them to see influential Black people making history, that they have changed  – and continue to change  – the world.

It’s important for Black youth to see that they are not limited by their present circumstances and can rise above challenges. Growing up, my parents were my biggest source of inspiration because of their optimistic outlook on life. My father has always said that if you believe in yourself and work hard enough for what you want, the sky is just the starting point.

Yesterday’s circumstances do not write the story of your tomorrow.

My mum always says that it is never too late to chase your dreams; yesterday’s circumstances do not write the story of your tomorrow. This inspires me every day to keep on growing, and not to dwell in the past. Having them as my own dedicated fan club has always made be push my limits and keep focused.

Within the workplace and beyond, connections with people of similar backgrounds are so valuable because we can learn from their stories and their mistakes.

Serena Williams once said: “I am lucky that no matter the fear I have inside me, my desire to win is always stronger.” That keeps me going on days when fear wants to weigh me down from achieving my goals

Beyond Black History Month, how do you think we can all continue to educate ourselves and celebrate Black History

In order to continue educating and celebrating Black History beyond February, we need to create opportunities and promote Black accomplishments in every organisation.

Healthy discussions provide this avenue because when the Black community and allies allow themselves to be vulnerable and talk about their lived experiences, that’s when we can begin having open conversations that can evolve into unique opportunities to correct and achieve a global mindset.

The events from the last year have sparked worldwide dialogue on the perpetuation of racial injustices experienced by the Black community. How have these conversations impacted you, and what words of inspiration would you say to the next generation of Black Canadians?

Use the past as a launching ground and a reflection of the possibilities you can achieve.

Some words of advice I live by are Denzel Washington’s thoughts on what it truly means to accomplish a goal. He says: “At the end of the day, it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished. It’s about what you’ve done with those accomplishments. It’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better. It’s about what you’ve given back.”

It’s never too early to be a mentor or use your voice. That’s my advice for my Black community.