Six years, and three books later, a group of three incredible Black women have sought to spread the word and share the accomplishments of Black women across Canada. To share their victories with the rest of society, and to elevate Black women, they put together a database to highlight them. The 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women. A biennial book release celebrating those who have built up our community and mentors for future generations.
We had a chance to interview the authors of this wonderful book – Dauna Jones-Simmonds, the Hon. Dr. Jean Augustine, and Dr. Denise O’Neil Green. Their passion for their community knows no bounds. They have sought to highlight the incredible lived experiences by Black women who have made great strides and changed this country.
Though the gala and book release had to be pushed back to 2021, the event, just like Black women, will continue to fight on, and they have found a way to make it all happen.
You can find more information and RSVP for the gala (set for September 18th at 6PM EST) as well as their upcoming symposium on mental health on their website. You can purchase the 2020 edition of the book here!
But for now, you can check out the Q&A held with the lovely ladies down below.
G987: What pushed you and your co-authors to begin this writing process? What goals did you seek to achieve?
100ABC: We quickly discovered that there is no database housing the accomplishments of Black Women in Canada, unsung heroes that have done so much for themselves and their communities. This propelled us to undertake this project. Our goal is to have an ever expanding database that is available to our current and future generations. Additionally, most Canadians are more comfortable referencing the achievements of Americans and that’s mainly because they do not know enough about the achievements of other Canadians.
G987: Is there a specific theme you chose to embody in the third edition with the candidates selected? We noticed a more prominent inclusion of Black women in the field of healthcare. Was that a coincidence or a conscious decision considering the current state of the world?
100ABC: The Theme will always remain the same – highlighting and documenting the Accomplishments of Black Canadian Women. In 2018, we noticed that we had a fair amount of Honourees with PhDs. (Concerning healthcare workers) This was actually coincidental. We started the process in late 2018. At that point in time, we had no idea that we would be faced with a pandemic of this magnitude.
G987: The news cycle surrounding Blackness over the past year has unfortunately been saturated with stories about Black trauma, how important is it to instead have something like this book to feature Black success?
100ABC: I believe we were ahead of our time. Our focus has always been to uplift the Black Community. Showcase their work and demonstrate to the world that Black Women are brilliant and should no longer be invisible. It is our hope that these editions will help to amplify their voices. I recall when my niece read this 2020 book, she was shocked to learn of their many talents – hence the argument that their stories must be told.
G987: If you had access to a book of this magnitude when you were young, what impact do you think it would have had on you?
100ABC: I would have been inspired to pursue a higher education and speak up more. We grew up in a humble environment and were too shy to let others know of our capabilities.
G987: What message do you intend to send to young Black women in Canada with this book?
100ABC: Young Black women in this country need to be proud of our culture, of our people and the shoulders of women who have paved the way for us. They need to believe in themselves knowing that Canada has provided a platform where they can succeed. They can reach out to any of the Honourees in our book – to provide mentorship so that they can carry the baton.
Make sure to check out more information about the book, the gala, and more info about the cause on their website.