Last updated on April 19th, 2021 at 02:57 am
I remember first meeting Lisa at a party five years ago, and we’ve all come a long way since! Her submission for Tales from the 2.9 mirrors much of mine, but she touches on a lesson I think every Black Canadian child has heard at some point about life in a country filled with others who don’t look like we do:
“You need to work twice as hard to get half as far!”
Read more of her views below!
About Lisa Simone Richards
Lisa Simone Richards, principal at Vitality PR & Communications, has spent more than ten years working with brands of all sizes to grow their businesses through effective public relations and marketing strategies. Her clients have secured coverage in some of North America’s largest media outlets including Breakfast Television, the National Post, Chatelaine, and FitnessRX for Women. As a sought-out speaker, panelist and writer, Lisa Simone has been featured in the Globe & Mail, FASHION, SheKnows and more.
1) When you think of Black History Month, what are some of the stories and images that come to mind?
When I think of Black History Month, the novel and also the miniseries The Book of Negroes is what comes to mind, exploring slavery and how that whole time not only related to the US but to Black individuals who made their way to Canada.
2) The Black Experience we’re largely exposed to in the media is that of our southern neighbours and the struggles they’ve faced. What’s your experience been as a Black person in Canada, and what have you learned from it?
As a Black person in Canada, I’m fortunate to live in the melting pot that is Toronto where a number of different background and cultures all come together. I haven’t personally experienced what I would consider to be a ‘unique’ experience as a Black Canadian, just a Canadian experience. I have always found myself to be treated equally among my peers of different ethnicities. However, I am still conscious that a divide exists and always practice what my parents taught me—that as a result of my skin colour, I need to excel and push further than most non-Blacks do, if only to have a shot at being considered ‘equal’, not even exceptional or above average. We do have to work harder than most to achieve basic equality.
3) In sharing your voice with the world, what impression do you hope to leave on the world with everything you do?
I hope to leave the impression that every individual, no matter how small he or she may feel, has an important contribution to make and footprint to leave behind. It’s specifically why I work with small businesses and entrepreneurs.
4) We all benefit from good mentors who guide us along the way to make sure we reach our potential in life. Who was your mentor to teach you from a cultural standpoint, and what’s the greatest lesson you learned from them?
I haven’t had a specific mentor from a cultural standpoint, but again will reiterate what I learned from my parents: to work harder than the ‘average’ person to be able to compete with my non-Black peers.
5) If you could say just one thing to the rest of the 2.9%, what would it be?
Believe in your own capability, define a clear vision, and be willing to work harder than anyone else to make that vision a reality.
All the Tales from the 2.9, 2016, a Black History Month Project
- Casey Palmer, Blogger | Tales from the 2.9 #1
- Lisa Simone Richards | Tales from the 2.9 #2
- Heather Greenwood Davis | Tales from the 2.9 #3
- Chad G. Cranston | Tales from the 2.9 #4
- Amanda Nunes, Heartless Girl | Tales from the 2.9 #5
- Marcel Dee, Photographer | Tales from the 2.9 #6
- Lian “Reese” Wright, Blogger | Tales from the 2.9 #7
- Brione Wishart, Filmmaker | Tales from the 2.9 #8
- Natalie Preddie, Blogger | Tales from the 2.9 #9
- Kevin Kelly | Tales from the 2.9 #10
- Black Sebath, BS7 | Tales from the 2.9 #11
- Jon Crowley, Writer | Tales from the 2.9 #12
- Nadine Kennedy, Artist | Tales from the 2.9 #13
- Heroes of the World | Tales from the 2.9 #14
- Alicia Bell | Tales from the 2.9 #15
- Ryan Robinson | Tales from the 2.9 #16
- Tash Jefferies | Tales from the 2.9 #17
- Lamin Martin | Tales from the 2.9 #18
- Septembre Anderson | Tales from the 2.9 #19
- Shaun Worrell, Blogger | Tales from the 2.9 #20
- Bee Quammie | Tales from the 2.9 #21
- Mike Armstrong | Tales from the 2.9 #22
- Zetta Elliott, PhD | Tales from the 2.9 #23
- Ryan Elcock, Habari Network | Tales from the 2.9 #24
- Brenda Chuinkam, Blogger | Tales from the 2.9 #25
- Rachel Lambo | Tales from the 2.9 #26
- J. D. Amin, BramptonRises | Tales from the 2.9 #27
- Sandra Dawes | Tales from the 2.9 #28
- Samantha Kemp-Jackson | Tales from the 2.9 #29
Tales from the 2.9 is an ongoing series on CaseyPalmer.com showcasing Black Canadian content creators and the experiences they’ve had growing up Black in Canada!