The truth about our black community is that our condition to get help is bad as we are so displaced financially, mentally, and emotionally. I was asked a few questions at the beginning of my first black business application that made me extremely uncomfortable; I felt belittled and insignificant, honestly I couldn't proceed to finish the application as I was upset so I literally walked away and never looked at it again. Did I need the help? 100% yes! But here's the problem; I wasn't asking for sympathy or easy money, I needed money to do business.
Anyone that is brave enough to attempt to start a business or operating one isn't the kind of person that is weak; they will to push to achieve in what they want to succeed in. We as a people have pride in who we are. As a kid, I remember in my home country, when I was only about 7 to 9 years old, the little town I was born in was frequently visited by tourists. I recall a certain and very regular couple who would take with them bags of mixed candies for the local kids, which was great and a good gesture, but I found it really odd the way they would go about the distribution of the candies to us, so I decided not to participate in taking any of the delicious sweet varying favors of candies; many of which I would love to eat. Well you see that his method was to grab handful of the candies and stand on the veranda in an elevated area then proceed to throw it in the crowd of kids; of course it became a feeding frenzy, the kids actions changed and became extremely different as they would fight, push, and pull their peers to get more of the sweets.
I stood aside and thought to myself, hell no that's not for me! My father back then was a hobby farmer (we had pigs), and it was just at that moment I had a vision/revelation, and asked myself why not just put the candies on a table and invite the kids to take what they need in a decent respectful manner rather than having them be like hogs in a pen?
I've been told over and over by multiple funding organizations it's a competition to get the funding and who comes first gets it, yet there is a time period or a deadline on the application!
Why my story about the candies is important? The pride in who we are and should be has been slowly eroded over time; the lack of the "heads up" approach and look me in the eyes as equals across the table feeling is important. It deals with the persons' self worth and gives value to their contribution, of which in return makes them valuable within society. Making all cultures equal, as we are one, should be the goal as many non-white cultures have been broken down leaving a negative impact on many generations today as they are still competing just to showcase their talented culture instead of having an easy pathway for everyone to be heard and seen for what they bring to the table of life.
Obvious reasons why our minority community will never access these kinds of help in these times when they are available are:
Previous displacement of our culture.
The fact that we struggle so much with finances-Due to the lack of funds, we appear to be disorganized.
Discouragement-Our efforts are minimized so badly, it is hard for others to see greatness in what we can offer as the rewards after the fact are limited to none; thus not allowing us to grow to our full potential.
Frustration-We lost the fight to secure our culture because of suppression, so our voices are not being heard. The beauty that shows our differences can not be found due to the vast barriers that exist and the long journey to go back to where we left it.
Systems in a System, the confusion of endless rabbit holes is deliberately put in place to distract and disorientate our communities & leaders; making us "disorganized" as they say we are. The common knowledge is that most black people cannot swim, our finances is the same way, but why is this? To unlock the answer, you'd have to pay attention to the traumatizing experiences black people go through as kids. For those of us who dare to jump in and find themselves drowning while the on lookers who can help, decides to throw us a handbook full of swimming instructions instead of a floating device. Some obvious struggles is that the grant approval time and grant release dates leaves you unable to secure key artist for the events, minimizing the overall effect for our community.
What funders may be doing wrong and questions:
Does the funding agency give a blanket disbursement?
Do major festivals/organizations pull from the same funds or are these big organizations in the competition to access the same funding?
Do these funders take into consideration the longevity of the programs they are a funding?
Why were last years activities that were denied funding are now being shown this year as acceptable?
Why are our ideas being harvested for the benefit of others while we continue to get denied?
Our experience last year going through the process of applying for multiple grants and getting rejected so many times left us disappointed and discouraged; it takes long hours for us to plan events and programs for our communities, less all the other nuts and bolts of getting the right people and finances to pay the capable ones to properly put the dream to the level needed only to be denied on technicalities. It's getting harder to be in this desert surroundings, when given an empty glass for an apology, when what we truly need is water.
Our experience at times are sad, it's like as though we were looking dead into the cold dark hole of a pistol knowing we'll have no choice but to cancel one of our events due to these on going financial struggles. We have already proven that we can achieve what we set out to accomplish by our tract record, but still the elephant in the room is flexing his strength. "You can work like a mule and the crap is still bad", the words of Paul Bogle, a Jamaican hero from the Maroons in the 1865 rebellion; something of which I truly can relate to at times, as we are taught hard work brings success, but obviously not in all cases. Why should the road always be the rough and treacherous side of life for some groups? I'm embarrassed to look in Manitoba's art community and Google search popular reggae groups/music establishments in attempt to find a representative for reggae music or artist of the sorts, all while knowing how great an impact the reggae culture is aboard. We are a positive that a proper reggae music presentation over time will bring massive tourism to Manitoba and it's surrounding area's because of it's worldwide appeal. So we can't see why more resources are not available to support this cultural expansion.
In conclusion, is the help advertised really for us? Or are we props for their display for political/financial gains for their institutions?