Black Women Connect Vancouver
The name states who they are and what they’re about.
A team of five Black women with a goal of creating events for other Black women to connect; to be empowered and to inspire each other.
Building meaningful relationships that celebrate the beauty of Black womanhood.
An organization that started as a Black Girls Magic party in 2017 (complete with cupcakes!), by two sisters who thought it would be fun to plan an event for close friends, and then decided to extend the invitation to other women of color.
It was due to the success of this party as they saw and heard a demand for more events similar to this.
And much needed in Vancouver.
Who Are Black Women Connect Vancouver?
When BlackWomenConnectVancouver appeared on my Instagram feed, just a few weeks ago, I was so excited. Who are these women? What is their organization? And why haven’t I heard of them before?!
So many questions rushed through my mind as my fingers fumbled over my keyboard, in my haste to read their bio, find their website and to read more about what they do.
Nataizya Mukwavi, founder of Black Women Connect Vancouver (B.W.C.V), and I chat as though we have met before (but haven’t!) over Zoom we discuss and compare what it’s like to live in a province, where the Black population makes up less than 1%, according to the 2016 Canadian census.
There is something about Nataizya that instantly puts you at ease. You know that look that comes over someone’s face when you are talking and you realize that they are actually listening listening to your words? Or the way that they nod to encourage you to keep talking? That was Nataizya.
With all that has been happening over the past few months amidst COVID-19, supporting local businesses and the current world-wide Anti-Racism Movement, it has elevated organizations such as B.W.C.V, so they are visible to a much wider audience.
B.W.C.V have received so much attention and support that their donation site crashed in early June, however, with some speedy maintenance, is now back up and running and accepting donations.
“The amount of support just kind of exploded and we gained 2,000+ new followers on Instagram in just three days. Everything was so quick and I just wasn’t prepared.”
Along with the donations coming in, which will go towards helping this start-up become a registered organization, there have been offers of help.
“I’m trying to figure out the balance of allowing ally-ship to happen, but also setting the boundary of this is still a Black space. Ultimately the space is just for Black women. Yes, everyone is invited to be there,” Nataizya clarifies, “but remember this space is for Black women.”
Upcoming Events :
The next event planned will focus on self-care and processing all of the things we are experiencing right now, such as the anger, the fear and also acknowledging all that is encouraging and positive. You can now register for this event, happening on Saturday June 27th.
This online event will be interactive with the opportunity for participants to connect with each other, which in turn forms community.
The space to interact with other participants was valuable feedback gained from an earlier event this year, which was moved online last minute, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Switching from an in-person event to an online platform, Nataizya notes that, “I was rejecting it every way…there’s just something about being together in a room…but I kinda had to let that go. It was a learning curve!”
The event was Women In Leadership and with over 90 attendees from across Canada participating, allowed the opportunity for women outside of Vancouver to connect.
Our conversation turns towards mindset and how the ability to be able to push through the self doubt, when we ask ourselves, ‘Am I the right person to be doing this? Maybe there is not a need for this in the community? Who am I to be taking this on?’
When organizing events, Nataizya comments, “I have these thoughts, but I’m also learning not to be apologetic and to say sorry in conversations.”
Something that I think we can all relate to and it’s refreshing to hear others be open and candid about their struggle to create something of value for others.
It shows that they aren’t thinking of themselves but have their community in mind at every step.
How To Connect :
To stay up-to date with events and resources, connect with the team here
Follow BlackWomenConnectVancouver on Instagram