February is Black History Month, and SEIU-West's Multicultural Mentorship Committee wanted to share one of their member's thoughts.

Felix came from Ghana and has been living in rural Saskatchewan for several years now as a Continuing Care Assistant. Here is what Felix had to say:

Black History Month should have a much deeper meaning than I feel it does. In my opinion, all races should celebrate each other. The narrative should be changed from the negative side of history such as: slavery, racism, etc., to putting a spotlight on a positive side of history and the way forward.

We need to acknowledge Black creators and visionary African leaders. Similarly, African leaders should be accountable for their stewardship. For instance, all African countries and world leaders condemned the apartheid in South Africa. Sadly, xenophobia is the norm of the day in South Africa. Africans are attacking fellow Africans. As Malcolm X said, "We cannot think of being acceptable to others until we have first proven acceptable to ourselves."
As an African diaspora, I have a great interest in Black History Month, and I appreciate the value of tradition. African leaders need to wake up and be accountable to their citizens by tackling corruption and strengthening democracy in Africa. We need to shine a light on the positives and condemn the wrongs in Africa.
Unfortunately, 2021 saw a coup d'état in Guinea, and Ethiopia's crisis is ongoing. These are things that the African Union and ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) should focus on instead of always apportioning blame to the colonial regime.
As a son of Africa who believes in fundamental human rights, rule of law, and Pan-Africanism, (a worldwide movement with a goal to encourage and strengthen bonds of solidarity between all indigenous and diaspora ethnic groups of African descent) my heart bleeds for my mother Africa when I hear of coup d'états, xenophobia, child labor, and that less than 10% of Africans are fully vaccinated for Covid -19. These are critical issues that as an African, I would like Black History Month to throw more light on and I would love to discuss how the African diaspora can give back to their roots. Enough of the blame game, African leaders have to take responsibility to change the narrative of Africans.
In this 21st century, the majority of Africans don't have access to potable water or food security, and child labor is in the ascendency. African children are innocent and they can't be victims of poor leadership and lack of economic transformation. In Black History Month, it is a wake-up call to the African diaspora to give back to mother Africa.
I count myself lucky to be in Canada, a peaceful country, with access to potable water and vaccines. Something that some Canadians take for granted. Chasing my dreams comes along with a lot of challenges but I try to keep my chin up so that I can give my family and African child the life I never had.

Felix Osei

(MMC member)

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