We’ve Been Here: Queering Black History Month
The histories and struggles of QIPOC communities and their contributions are frequently erased and missing from the mainstream narratives. They are often buried in the files and boxes in the homes of the individuals who participated in those activities. For Black History Month, we celebrate the legacy of black lives but we somehow don’t celebrate the legacy of black queer lives—as if we have not been part of a larger struggle.
For Black History Month this year, we celebrate the affirmation of a community’s ability to thrive despite attempts at its erasure. Over the next few days we will be profiling various Queer and Trans Black community members across Turtle island and continue to speak to the lives of those of us who live and love on the margins in an effort to not be erased and disappeared.
Singer - Songwriter - Activist
Faith Nolan is a singer/songwriter with a deep history of queer, women’s and anti-poverty activism. Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, her parents and extended family were coal miners in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia of African, Miqmaq and Irish heritage. She later grew up in Toronto's working-class Cabbagetown. Her commitment to social justice comes from her life experiences and the people she grew up with, and she works through the cultural tool of music. Her music is her political work, a politics firmly rooted in her being working class, a woman, African Canadian and queer.
Faith is the founder and director of three different choirs in Toronto, Singing Elementary Teachers of Toronto; CUPE Freedom Singers , the Women of Central East Correctional Centre; Sistering Singers. produced a film, Within These Cages, about women in prison; and continues to fight for a better understanding of how poverty has created a disproportionate representation of poor women, especially black and First Nations, in Canadian prisons.
Poet - Novelist - Documentarian
Dionne Brand is one of Canada's most renowned, honoured, and bestselling poets, novelist and directors. She was Toronto's Poet Laureate from 2009 to 2012, and in 2017, she was named to the Order of Canada. Her work often explores themes of anti-racist and anti-capitalist activism and diasporic life as well as queer relationships and erotics. In addition to being a writer, Brand is a social activist. She is a founder of the newspaper Our Lives, is past chair of the Women's Issues Committee of the Ontario Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, and does work with immigrant organizations around Toronto.
Artist - Activist - Community Worker
Nik Redman is an artist, activist and community worker who was born in Montreal, Canada. Nik grew up in both Barbados and Canada.
He is a member of the GBQ Trans Men’s’ Working Group, part of Ontario Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance; the MaBwana Community Advisory Committee, the Prisoners Justice Action Committee (PJAC) and the Trans Fathers 2B Parenting Course Project Team. Nik was one of the online facilitators for the province-wide HIV/AIDS-themed Stigma campaign. Nik currently works as a Grievance Officer with the University of Toronto’s Local 1998 United Steelworkers Union. In addition, he works doing Anti-Harassment and Human Rights Training for the Union.
An active participant in several communities, Nik volunteers with the LGBT Youth Line, Community One and is part of the programming committee and the Board of the Inside Out Film and Video Festival. He also serves on the Board of Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention (Black CAP).
As we progress through February, QE will be highlighting additional individuals. Bookmark this page or follow us on our social media to stay connected and get informed!