‘La résilience des femmes noires’ is a special photo series created for Black Herstory Month 2020. The women in this series come from all walks of life and the goal is to capture the essence of their stories through their photos. Black represents community and sisterhood. Head wraps represent their uniqueness and individuality. Red lips represent voices that need to be heard, bold and unapologetic.
Aïcha now resides in Québec City but, is from and grew up in the indigenous community of Wendake while being close to her Guinean roots. She says she identifies as an Afro-indigenous woman who chooses to proudly honor her origins and ancestors. “I am a woman of resilience because my day to day life is about fighting stereotypes and making sure I educate people that I come across by being authentically me. To me, dance is the perfect language to express and share that resilience. Each movement I make or teach is about empowerment, raw energy, decolonization and change. ''
Emmanuelle was born in the Caribbean island of Martinique and arrived in Québec City at the age of 19 to discover other horizons and feel free to be herself. She admits that leaving her life behind was one of the hardest decisions she has ever had to make. “I am a woman of resilience because making the decision to leave my life behind to come and settle in a foreign country so far from my culture, was undoubtedly one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make. I didn't expect it to be so different and I had never faced racism before. I learned to educate others rather than get angry or feel downgraded or insulted.”
Gracia was born in the East African country of Burundi and moved to Québec City 7 ½ years ago to be with her sweetheart. She left her country to move to a place where she could have a different experience and a better life. “I am a woman of resilience because I left my family by myself to live in a society with social labels very different from my origins.”
Islande was born in the beautiful Caribbean country of Haiti but was adopted by a Québecoise family at a very young age. She freely admits that she tries not to expect too much from life. "I am a woman of resilience because I take the good with the bad. I always take the time to look at each aspect of the situation fully before taking action. It is much easier to accept certain situations as well.”
Leah was born and raised in the East African country of Uganda and arrived in Québec City in 2014 in search of a better life. “I am a woman of resilience because I am able to deal with my emotional reactions and behaviors to those around me. In order to manage my feelings, it is essential to understand what is causing them and why. Knowing this, I can control the situation and think of new ways to tackle problems.”
Lois was born in the East African country of Rwanda and moved to Québec City in 2014 for a better life.“I am a woman of resilience because I adapted to moving to a whole different place with a different culture and language. I’m proud of that.”
Meika was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, came to Québec in 2010 on an exchange program and met her current spouse while she was here.“I am a woman of resilience because I face many challenges as a black, Anglophone woman living in Quebec City and I meet those challenges head on. I know why I’m here and that I’m providing the best life I can for my family, so I push on, cultivating my relationships and nurturing my chosen family. Whenever possible, I do it with a smile on my face and a song in my heart.”
Oumou was born in the West African country of Guinea but, lived in France for 10 years before she arrived in Québec City in 2019. Her hope is to be a role model for girls and younger black women. “I am a woman of resilience because I think that I am part of a generation whose mission is to teach our children to love and accept themselves not only as women but, black women.”
Placida was born in the East African country of Burundi and moved to Québec City in 1993 to escape civil war in her country. She says that she’s learned to live with the fact that although she's lived in Québec for almost 26 years, people still make her feel like she doesn't belong here. “I am a woman of resilience because I’ve learned to live with the fact that although Burundi is still my home, going back would feel like I'm a tourist in my own country. Despite the fact that both Burundi and Canada still have huge pieces of my soul, my history, my personality, accepting to live like a free spirit and standing up for myself as a Burundi-Canadian girl is my superpower.”
Santana was raised in Toronto, Canada and moved to Québec City in 2018 with her spouse who’s based here in the military. She freely admits to having depression and wants other people to know that it’s nothing to be ashamed of and that they’re not alone. “I am a woman of resilience because I suffer from mental health problems and I try to overcome the battle with my thoughts every day. I will continue facing my thoughts and overcome the darkness!”
Sénia was born in Montreal, Québec and moved to Québec City a year ago to be with her boyfriend. Sénia says that she had to give up her studies to help take care of her family from a young age. “I am a woman of resilience because at the age of 18 I had to give up studying to help my mother educate my brother and my sister because my father was of no financial help. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished.”
Zawadi was born and raised in the East African country of Uganda and arrived in Québec City in 2014 in search of a better life. “I am a woman of resilience because I understand that life is full of challenges. While I cannot avoid challenges I can still remain open, flexible and willing to adapt to changes. I am able to keep smiling no matter what.”