Meet Iman, a Black woman working in a Montreal nonprofit organization. Her journey represents the journey of many women and femmes of colour who shared their stories with us.
Our infographic describing the experiences of women of colour in the workplace resonated with thousands of people across the globe. We wanted to imagine an alternate ending to that story, one where women and femmes of colour had a different experience of working in nonprofits.
Though fictional, Iman’s story is one of many voices. Iman’s is based on real-life accounts from women and femmes of colour in the Quebec community sector that were shared with us. Each story is unique in its own right, but patterns thread them together.
Iman’s stories, and the ones that contributed to it, include pain and grief, as well as of healing and community. We hope you sit with us to hear these stories through Iman and dream of a world where Black, Indigenous, and other women and femmes of colour can be seen and heard in their wholeness.
How this Video Came to Be
In 2017, COCo came across an infographic by the Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Non-Violence. We were struck by its resonance with many of the stories we were hearing from women and femmes of colour (in particular, Black women and femmes) in the community sector. COCo was given permission to adapt the tool for a wider audience, notably by modifying the imagery to tell a collective story based on the accounts shared with us by women and femmes of colour via Diversité d’abord, an anti-racism community research project led by Emily Yee Clare from 2016 to 2017. That tool is here.
A year later, it went viral on social media, with thousands of shares. Subsequently, this tool became a mainstay in many of our training and discussion groups. We developed multiple ways of using it to deepen conversations about race in the community sector. One of those ways included a fictionalized composite story written by Emily and Kama LaMackerel (artists, writer, and former COCo affiliate) called The Story of Adryanna. Emily and Kama’s story soon became an often-used pedagogical tool in our workshops and facilitated sessions. This infographic ultimately demonstrates the power of storytelling in the work that COCo strives to do and develop.
In 2019, through funding from the LUSH Charity Pot program, COCo produced an animated video titled “Walk with Me”. The video tells the story of “Iman”, a Black woman whose journey represents the stories of the women and femmes of colour who participated in Diversité d’abord and Conflit à l’oeuvre – a sub-project of Diversité d’abord which looked at the confluence of racism and interpersonal conflict in the workplace.
To Our Participants
COCo has been gifted by the generosity of Women and Femmes of Colour time and again. They have bravely shared their stories of pain and injustice, as well as of healing and transformation. As an organization we’re proud to have been trusted with these stories and to have worked together to create three different tools. We hope the infographic, short story, and video animation can amplify voices speaking out from the margins. We hope that you share widely, that you join us in honouring these stories, and if you’re so inclined, to let us know how it was watching Iman’s story unfold.