Updated: Mar 9
This weeks blog has been taken over by Mulugeta Morrison, a 16 year old that I was happy to be introduced to through a friend who is one of his teachers. Though the point of Mulugeta and I meeting was to have a discussion on our identity as People of Colour and racist experiences, I felt our discussion was much more than that. Hearing Mulugeta describe his life being adopted by two white parents reminded me of how I felt as a young child raised by a white mother in Moncton. His story is a powerful one that I felt should be amplified through my blog, and because of our meeting, I hope to help more kids and teens like him who could benefit from knowing someone who is having similar racially based experiences as them. This is Mulugeta’s story.
My name is Mulugeta Morrison. I was born in Ethiopia and came to Canada when I was four years old. I’ve forgotten everything about my time in Ethiopia except the photos from when my parents adopted me. The reason I moved to Canada was because my father died in a boating accident. I was three years old. I was so affected by this that I couldn’t do anything, I blocked out the world around me. My mom gave me up for adoption to try to help me. After a few months, I started to get better. Then, I was adopted into a small family.
They took care of me but the only difficulty I’ve had is that I am Black and they are White. It would be fine, but they have not been able to help me when I have racist experiences. It’s hard for them to help me through this when they don’t know what it’s like to be discriminated against because your skin is different. While I was growing up, I had racist experiences, but I didn’t know how to handle racism. I now understand that we are a Black community and we need to learn how to live with racism and how to help one another with those experiences.
Black in the Maritimes was shown to me by Hillary LeBlanc. This started as a French project, but I never thought this would have such a large impact on my life. We met through my teacher so I could ask her how she was treated as a Black person. I’ve been a minority since I arrived in Canada, since Ethiopia. It was very useful and inspiring to hear her story and what she has overcome. She had a jarring racist experience when she was in 3rd grade. She’s never overcome racism, but has learned how to live with it and how to help others like me live with it. A big change that helped her feel moren accepted was reconnecting with her father and the Black community. She talks about her experiences to help people realize they are not alone.
When I was very young, I had the good fortune of avoiding racism. I realize now I was blind to racism. The reason being that I was raised by White parents who couldn’t really explain how to face it. In Summer 2018, my eyes were opened to the truth when I had my first racist experience. I was shocked. It really affected my mental health. Everything went downhill after that. After this first incident, there were more and more incidents which bothered me to the point I lost sleep. I had not learned how to handle these situations. That’s how Hillary helped me by showing me Black in the Maritimes. It’s there that I was able to see all the different ways that other Black people have faced these obstacles.
Black in the Maritimes showed me various different experiences of people who have faced racism. They recognize that all Black people live with racism in different ways and they prove that no matter where you work you will face racism. They are trying to make a difference, one person at a time.
I am inspired by them because they haven’t done huge things, yet are making a huge difference. I want to be apart of this change. I may be 16 years old, but that won’t stop me from at least helping a few people. It will prove that anyone can make a difference in their community.