For 28 precious days (sometimes 29), the roles of iconic figures like Lincoln Alexander, Liberty Silver and Donovan Bailey are examined and lauded. But for Mhairy McLachlan and Ricardo McRae, the founders of WhosWhoInBlackCanada.com, a single month of recognizing Black Canadians was simply not enough.
That’s why they brought the lives of Canada’s best and brightest to the Internet. “Our site is a representation of community,” says McRae. “It’s a project born out of frustration. We were tired of seeing inaccurate representations and portrayals of our community. We decided to do something about it.”
The pair contacted the print publisher of Who’s Who in Black Canada to speak about the advantages of providing content online. Within a day, they had inked a deal to produce WhosWhoInBlackCanada.com.
Within 30 days the site was up and connecting with visitors from around the world. “The misconception is that the site is just for Black people,” says McLachlan. “The site is for everyone. We get comments from Turkey, Japan, Ireland, everywhere you can imagine. And that’s the point: We’re showing that our contributions reach around the world. Also, we’re demystifying success. We tell people, ‘Look, they did it and you can, too.’”
McRae and McLachlan have had to deal with their fair share of detractors, including those who wonder if there are enough suitable candidates to continue the site’s daily profiles, and those who question whether a site that focuses exclusively on African-Canadian achievement is actually needed. However, McRae has a simple retort for critics: “Whenever someone asks me if we need Black History Month or WhosWhoInBlackCanada.com, I just ask one simple question: ‘Can you name two Black Canadian architects?’ Yeah, exactly.”
By Leroy Graham
Photo: Nathaniel Anderson
Graphic Design: Kurupt
Learn how to do well by doing good. -Educate, Empower, Unite.-MCMLXVIII
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