BY: SIMONE JENNIFER SMITH
I have to say Toronto, I am very proud to be an African Woman in September. The last few weeks have been motivating and engaging for me. I had made a video the other day about making small changes in my life; the more changes I make, the more I progress. I want to welcome you to A Better Tomorrow. If it is your first time, I hope you are able to learn from the column. Every other week, I am bringing focus on aspects of self, so that we can heal, one member of the community at a time. I was in the middle of a relationship series, but I have had to sidetrack due to the different aspects of my life which I find worthy of sharing with you.
The last two weekends, I have had the opportunity to engage with many powerful women. This week I want to share my experience with two women: one who is a school colleague of mine, and the other, a matriarch; a woman who continues to reinvent herself. These experiences are personal, and someone else’s experience with them may have been different; regardless, I am proud to know them both.
On Sunday, September 17th, 2017, I pulled up to Daniel’s Spectrum at 9:15 a.m. I was late, of course, but I noticed other women still coming in, so I didn’t feel all too bad. I pulled into the parking, checked my face, and adjusted my hair; “Alright Simone, let’s do this.” I have made it a habit of speaking power into myself before I enter a room full of people. As I walked in, my heart swelled with pride, I realized right away whose organization and event this was; it was one of my colleagues from Windsor, Dwania Peele. The Immigrant Women’s Small Business Expo is in its fifth year; Dwania’s organization celebrates the aspirations and achievements of all women. Her aim is to empower and enlighten women through workshops, seminars, and forums. These events advantage business-focused women, especially immigrant women who struggle in Canada’s labour market. I am proud because I remember her always being that advocate. In school, she was always smiling, warm and sincere in her approach with people of cultures, religions, and races. I say to you Dwania, keep doing what you are doing; you have a fan over here for life.
On Saturday, September 23rd, 2017, I won’t lie, I just wanted to go home and sleep. It had been a long week; I had been fighting the flu, and my partner was starting to come down with one. We had just finished our last class, and we sat there wheezing and coughing. “Alright, two more events to go and then we can sleep.” My partner laughed; he is very easy going, so he just gave me a hug and said. “Let’s do this!”
We arrived at the Ujima House at around 6:00 pm. When we walked in, the group was sitting in a circle and introducing themselves one by one. It was African Women’s Day, and the hostess, Thandie Chimurenga looked stunning in a black and white jumper, with these huge black and white artsy earrings. As a fashionista, I loved that she had come out to the event looking beautifully fierce, and powerful. Pan African Women’s Day is a day that is set aside to highlight the achievements of African Women in the past and in the present. It was a very spiritual event including the dumping of negative energy and refilling of that energy in a purer and more positive form. To my pleasure, the great Mutabaruka joined us and recited one of his great poems. His presence was felt and I was truly captured by the spirituality of the event.
I am happy that I am able to share these experiences with you; our community has produced greatness, and I am ecstatic that I am a part of it all.