Alicia and I first crossed paths on a TELUS campaign for the Samsung Galaxy S6, her life as a dedicated fitness model and personal trainer contrasting pretty heavily with the role of the new Dad in dire need of sleep I was clearly playing. But differences be damned, she clearly knows what she’s doing, with a growing audience in the tens of thousands across the Internet with her training club Train it Right, so I’m glad I could grab her long enough to join the project!
Make sure to check out her submission for Tales from the 2.9 below as she discusses race relations, sport, and what it’s like being Black in a rural community!
1) When you think of Black History Month, what are some of the stories and images that come to mind?
Obviously track and field is a sport that is very close to my heart. So I immediately think of John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. It stood for so much! And still does.
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?
I come from a very rural small New Brunswick town called Plaster Rock. Where I was actually the only Black person for miles. For the most part the people I was close to saw me as the same. However I was always called names that I know to this day they didn’t understand the history or how discriminatory those names were. I know they don’t completely understand how bad it is to use those terms and names. I will call it ignorance or lack of education. Since there aren’t many people of colour there I don’t think they fully understand. I think people in rural areas of Canada need to be taught more about Black history and the impact of negativity that ignorance can have.
3) In sharing your voice with the world, what impression do you hope to leave on the world with everything you do?
That despite being Black and from a small New Brunswick town that I went for my dreams and haven’t stopped trying to reach them. No matter what your circumstances are there are no limitations and I hope that people who have followed me/are following me see how hard that I have worked to get to where I am now.
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?
My biggest mentor from a cultural standpoint used to be one of Canada’s top sprinters. He went to my University, Dalhousie. He helped me embrace who I was and learn the history. Up until then I was sheltered in my small town and very unaware. Heck, I didn’t even know about Biggie or 2Pac until him!
5) If you could say just one thing to the rest of the 2.9%, what would it be?
Surround yourself with influential, positive and hard-working people. They will help guide you in the right path.
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!