“What advice do you have for young people today?”
– Fredericton Region Museum, 2020
Interview with Rosalie Soutar (closed captions available in both English and French) – View this video with an English transcript.
Today, many in Canada continue to encounter racism, oppression, and a variety of micro-aggressions in living their daily lives.
It has been a long journey, of mixed feelings and emotions… of hope denied, hope restored, and, for many, hope that remains unfulfilled.
We invite you to witness the thoughts and experiences of these individuals as they respond to our question: “In light of Black Lives Matter, what advice do you have for young people today?”
For those in the Black community, I know its tiring (the fight), I know you’re exhausted (always having to explain), but I hope that the fight never stops until your voices are heard. I want you to know that I was raised that every member of the Black community, whether I’m related to them or not, is my family, so I stand with you in your fight. We love you, and I support you 100%. I’m with you.
Dr. Mary Louise McCarthy-Brandt :
Black lives DO matter, and that it’s very, very important to stand firm in your truth… if you feel that you are being discriminated [against] or having incidents of racism, that your body knows you have your own strength in your DNA, and that not to have to take on every fight, but to be proud of who you are and to stand firm—to know that your Black life DOES matter.
I think it’s really hard. Everyone’s an individual, everyone’s different, but we’re not accepting that in society. It’s been how many years since Civil Rights? And we’re still just not there yet, and we are not going to be, and that’s just the reality for a while. But if you’re proud of who you are, then that is ALL that matters. You have to hold strong to that!
Make your ancestors proud. They went through a lot of struggles and endured a lot for YOU to have a better life than they did. So when they’re looking down on you, their spirit, their angel… make them proud… You can get a lot of education definitely from life skills, but the positive aspects that you get from aspiring to be better, to being something that you can pass on to the next generation, or your children, that they would be proud of [as well].
These are some things that I have learned, in learning more about myself and my family history… You may find something that will tweak your memory. When you look at this exhibit, or when you hear somebody’s story. If you hear something and it makes you think of something of your past that you didn’t understand, speak up. Ask questions. Just ask questions. And don’t be afraid to ask the questions. There is no such thing as normal anymore. The only thing that is normal now is finding out truth. Not their truth, not what you think it should be. But what the truth is and that deals not only with your history, but with where we go forward from here. So I would say to anybody who is fortunate enough to stumble across this exhibit: Look. Listen. Learn. But speak up as well. We want to hear. We want to know.
I’m a fifth generation of Howes and our original property is up on Highland Avenue. They’ve named a street after our family—Howe Street… Our family had their own graveyard on that property… Where I’m living now for 70 years is just within a mile or two of where I was born. I wouldn’t change a lot in my life… I’m so thankful for having been born in Fredericton.
Stay strong. Speak your mind. Speak your mind well. Address [it] when something makes you uncomfortable, when somebody says something. We can’t keep smiling and just walking away. We need to say: “You know what? That made me uncomfortable.” That’s what we need to start doing. I’m not a minority. I’m not going to be anyone’s checky box.