Liberal MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes kicked off Black History Month by writing a touching love letter to Black women.
“Even though we may have been distant, and I may seem far away, I love you and #ISeeYou,” Caesar-Chavannes writes in a HuffPost blog.
She starts the letter by admitting she hasn’t always been able to support her community the way she’s wanted — depression, anxiety and life have gotten in the way — but she wanted to thank those who held it down when she wasn’t able to.
The MP for Whitby, Ont., has been vocal about her challenges with mental illness in the past and went viral last year after giving a speech on body-shaming in the House of Commons. “Body shaming of any woman in any form from the top of her head to the soles of her feet is wrong, irrespective of her hairstyle, the size of her thighs, the size of her hips, the size of her baby bump, the size of her breasts or the size of her lips, what makes us different is what makes us unique and beautiful,” she said last October.
And while Caesar-Chavannes touches on that theme again in her HuffPost essay, her focus in this letter is celebrating Black women and recognizing what they’re up against. She gives a shout-out to elders, entrepreneurs, activists and educators. Most heartbreaking was a reminder of what Black children face — “the streets, and the institutions that keep them down and funnel them into prisons and foster care” — and how much needs to change, as she lauds mothers for protecting their kids.
She ends off her note recognizing the toll it can take to be “twice as good,” and with a nod to Maya Angelou.
“Being twice as good, twice as fast, twice as everything, because that is what we were taught. That is the only way we can succeed. I also see that it comes at a cost. The wear and tear. The exhaustion. The mental drain. I see that you are tired. And yet, still you rise.”
You can read the full letter at Huffington Post Canada.