Celebrate the black woman, restore her confidence, promote the success of black women, make them shine and give them tools. It has to be the black woman 2.0 coming out of the living room. You have to give her a good dose of confidence so that she can exercise leadership in her environment and thrive. There are inequalities, but that does not mean that we must remain silent, we must take our place and make a difference. There’s a phrase I like to say: If you’re dark-skinned, it’s for rushing and kicking down doors. It is an inclusive movement that concerns all women; helping each other, empowering each other, and by helping women at the bottom of the ladder, the whole society benefits. This fair is also a great celebration to discover black communities through women.
The theme of the fair this year is the environment and social justice. We will talk about urban agriculture, we will have market gardeners, workshops on urban gardening. We will talk about science and technology – because we want young people to be attracted to these subjects – we will discuss topics on the circular economy. There is also a section reserved for business, conferences with Isabelle Hudon, sustainable development, you can meet entrepreneurs from the black community. It will also be about sexuality; by the way, this morning I started off easy by trying out vaginal meditation! So I have a smile on my face! (laughs) There are so many taboos surrounding intimacy, sexuality, even more so in black communities, so we decided to create this space to encourage certain discussions on sexuality. We want to break taboos. We want women to reclaim their femininity and their sexuality, because a woman who is good in her body, in her sexuality, we feel it, is a woman who is anchored, solid and who appropriates her power.
There has been progress since 2018. For example, we have seen that more black women ran in the 2021 provincial and municipal elections, 11 black women were elected. We also see more and more black women in the business world sitting on boards and in decision-making positions. There is still progress to be made, there are issues in the entrepreneurial ecosystem where there is very little representation, yet there are more and more black women entrepreneurs. There is also the fact that the highest rate of single parenthood is found among black women, who have more responsibilities and who have to take care of their families.
They are always the same. We talk about racism, systemic racism, all black women can come up against this, even if there is progress. A few years ago, I went to Senegal to present a comedy show and there was a Quebecer in the room who said [she was] proud to see our Quebec women emancipated, fulfilled; this is what I identify with as a Quebecer. As a black Quebec woman, it is possible to spread your wings and fly, to take your place and to flourish. And I am proof of that. We have to keep moving forward. We are not in demands mode, but in solutions mode, lasting solutions. When I founded this salon in 2018, I really felt like I was helping my community, wanting black women to be part of the discussion.
Among the exhibitors at the show is the Afro Farmer’s Market – Culinary Traditions and African Heritage. Farmers and market gardeners from the black community offer fresh vegetables such as West Indian cucumbers, spices, medicinal plants and local products all weekend long. This will be an opportunity to discover Caribbean and African culinary traditions or to reconnect with them.