In her work as a local educator and consultant, Shanique Kelly does plenty of learning—just recently, she was designing a jewelry company’s Black History Month campaign, which involved researching Black Canadian creators, podcasters, and historical figures to share weekly. This project inspired her to embark on one of her own: a daily Instagram mini-lesson on Black history.

shanique kellyBree Avery

“I had been operating under this belief that, well, I’m not a historian, and I don’t know all the facts—who am I to report?” says Kelly. “But I realized there is a lot of fun in learning something new and sharing it, and I love doing that.” Her new daily Instagram stories are an opportunity to educate herself, but also to share Black greatness with others. Yesterday, she highlighted Alice Coachman, the first Black Olympian to earn a gold medal.

Shanique Kelly via InstagramShanique Kelly via Instagram “A lot of what we hear about Blackness is rooted in Black trauma, but there is so much vastness that exists in Black history and Black storytelling beyond traumatic events rooted in racism and oppression,” says Kelly. So how is she choosing what to post?

 Shanique Kelly via InstagramShanique Kelly via Instagram

“I’ve had to think hard about posting what interests me, and not just what people want to hear,” says Kelly. “I’m trying to centre caring for myself this Black History Month, and I’ve also been thinking about community care.”

She’s out to spread Black greatness and joy, but also to make tangible, financial change. Kelly is asking for those who learn from her posts to donate to givebacktoblackbc@gmail.com. From there, she will be redistributing donations to Black community members for their self care needs.

 Shanique Kelly via InstagramShanique Kelly via Instagram

Self care could mean anything from an RMT or chiropractor appointment to therapy or counseling. “A lot of the tools that I access to care for myself are things that are cost-prohibitive to a lot of people,” says Kelly, “and it shouldn’t be that only people who have financial privilege can access care for themselves.” She hopes that her Black History Month stories will inspire folks to compensate her, and she will redistribute those funds to the community (Black community members requesting funding are encouraged to contact her via the same email noted above).

Follow Shanique Kelly on Instagram at @softieshan—she's saving all her IG lessons in her highlights, so it's easy to catch up. And if you learn something (you will) be sure to donate.

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