The Faculty of Social Sciences’ Alumni Relations Team is thrilled to share our first episode of the new “One on One” Video Interview Series. This episode features Anne Moreau, an FSS alumni community member. She graduated from the political science program in 2018. She is now studying at uOttawa's Faculty of Law, Common Law section.
Click here to watch the full video.
In this video, Anne shares parts of her journey toward creating original projects, which include “28 Moments of Black Canadian History”.
Thank you, Anne, for sharing your story with us.
*Captions are available in French and English
Here is a Q&A version of the video.
What made you realize something was wrong in our society?
That’s a difficult question to answer. From a young age, I always knew that being Black and loud was always going to be seen as problematic in this society, so there’s not one event or anything in particular that kind of explains my increased involvement in my community or this momentum I have behind pursuing certain projects. But what I can say is, now, that I have access to resources and support that is unmatched, really. And thanks to the people in my life, thanks to the folks who are pointing me towards certain resources and helping me build relationships and meet new people, that is why I’m able to do what I’ve been doing and what you folks see online.
What or who was your biggest support during the hard times?
My biggest support has and always will be my family, first and foremost, and then, secondly, it’s just community members. My community, the Black community here in Ottawa, is just so special. And you know, between having my family supporting me and having community support, I just feel so grateful, right, and able to surmount anything, really.
Did you have any friends/family at the time or now who were facing the same struggle as you ?
In my “28 Moments of Black Canadian History” video I speak of this experience I had when I was 12 with a teacher who was just horrendously racist and discouraging, who even told me I wouldn’t make it past Grade 7, and once the story was shared on YouTube, I had a lot of folks who reached out to me and told me that they too had a similar experience with their teachers, with someone in a position of power actively working to disempower them as young Black, Indigenous and racialized individuals in their classrooms. So of course, there are family and friends and strangers who relate to my experience, right? It wasn’t an isolated experience. In the public school system, there are students currently who are facing racism from their teachers and it’s even happening at the postsecondary level. So to answer that question again, yeah, of course people can relate to the struggle.
How would you describe your mission in one sentence?
My mission in one sentence would be to challenge and dismantle white supremacy and the patriarchy without missing a beat.
Tell us more about your project UNILEARNAL?
UNILEARNAL is a non-profit that me and two other individuals started earlier this year, and one of those individuals actually is a University of Ottawa student by the name of Fitch Jean. He’s an incredible creative director working over at Lenz Studio and I do encourage folks to check them out. And through UNILEARNAL, we just have this mission of producing and creating content that deserves to be on Canadian screens, right, content that highlights experiences of Black folks especially, so that’s why we’ve pursued and released projects like “28 Moments of Black Canadian History,” which was shared earlier this year, and projects such as “Joy Is Our Birthright,” which was this collaboration that we had with Lydia Collins, a local author and just an incredible human. And through her we got to work with other members in our community and this project is just so meaningful and we just hope to continue producing and creating such meaningful projects and meeting such amazing humans. So the future of UNILEARNAL is still in the making and we still need to figure out how we’re going to actually operate but for now I can say that our main goal is to help folks create the content that they want to see online.
With all of these initiatives, have you faced any hate? If so, how have you dealt with it?
Facing hate and violence as a Black-run non-profit is inevitable, right? We’re being loud, we’re being proud, and we’re disrupting the status quo, right? So of course we’re going to get comments our way and terrible questions but it’s just this matter of dismissing those things and tuning them out.
During this pandemic, have you changed your plans to stay active while people are at home and can’t really participate in person?
We definitely tried our best to stay active during COVID but given the circumstances and the fact that this is a horrendous time for a lot of folks, we didn’t put any pressure on ourselves to continue making content. Of course, we’re trying here and there, but we’re taking things slow and being mindful of the fact that it’s a pandemic.
Check out some of Anne’s projects:[MC1]
Follow Anne’s project UNILEARNAL on social media:
Learn more about our FSS alumni community and how to get involved.
Stay in touch with us! Follow us on our social media or email us at Kelly.Ashcroft@uOttawa.ca.