Cover Image by Rachelle Baker
While diversity is recognized as Canada's greatest asset, discrimination and racism continue to take their toll on the country's minority groups. However, progress is being made as the Black Canadian community continues to rally for change.
GoFundMe recently responded to the call for change by launching its all-new centralized hub page. The crowdfunding platform is dedicating the page to stories of Black love, triumph, vision, achievement, and culture. It showcases Black Joy as an act of resistance against oppression. It also highlights the need to feel free and safe.
“We wanted to celebrate Black Joy in a way that was representative of our platform, and shine the spotlight on a campaign that supports humanity,” explains Stéphanie Princivil, spokesperson for Canada's GoFundMe team.
The centralized hub will have a permanent presence on GoFundMe and will be updated every month with new stories. It's a safe space dedicated to fundraising activities within the Black Canadian community. Just as important, it will provide a platform for uplifting stories related to Black fundraising campaigns and improve their overall visibility so more donors can learn about them.
The platform will amplify user-generated content that allows fundraisers to create their own page in the hub, launch campaigns, and share their stories within the platform. The causes for fundraisers range from Black wellness and healing to sports and culture, and everything in between.
“This is our first time doing this, and we're thrilled to provide more visibility to all the amazing fundraisers and support the causes we care about,” says Princivil. “We wanted to celebrate the hub in accordance with Emancipation Day; a glorious occasion for our community and, as a Black woman myself, it was very important that we did that.”
The fundraisers are ecstatic about the platform because it helps their campaigns and allows them to raise more capital for their initiatives.
“Black joy is pure, heartwarming, and balancing. It is a source of creativity that should be celebrated, protected, and normalized," says Kimberly Brown, a Black business owner in Toronto. Brown, one of the fundraisers, was able to start her own seasoning business selling Jamaican Jerk recipes. She began this service last year during closures and sold them directly to friends. After receiving positive feedback, she decided to sell her products through the Black-Owned Toronto website, before taking a long break.
This year, Brown decided to offer a more professional product with appropriate packaging and branding. She prepared her first batch with the help of funds collected through her GoFundMe page.
“My friends started pitching in during the campaign and I raised a lot more. The funds helped me with packaging, securing shelf space in a retail store, and things like that,” explains Brown. “Without these funds, I wouldn't have been able to create the first batch. The first batch will now pay for itself.”
She was so impressed with the visual interface of the emancipation hub that she shared it with her friends. She believes that the campaigns for Black fundraisers are being represented in a positive light and that the campaigns highlighted in the hub receive more support and donations. Although Brown has met her goals and is no longer promoting the fundraiser, she has kept it up in case anyone wants to continue supporting her campaign.
“There are lots of ways to support people. Ultimately, I think we are living at a time where our community needs to support each other,” says Brown. “The hub highlights many promising campaigns that could use more support and I recommend everyone go there.”
“GoFundMe has assigned a new contact to me after I got featured on the hub, which allows me to freely reach out to them with questions or concerns. The campaign is being shared online as well,” explains Brown.
Ama Amponsah, another fundraiser on GoFundMe, has a memorable quote on her page.
“Black joy is water and water is life!”
She recently launched her campaign on the centralized hub to support her research work on the role of Black and indigenous people in agriculture.
“I don't think the role of Black women in feeding the world is being appreciated enough, so my friend decided to help out and see if we can raise a little bit of money to support that research,” explains Amponsah.
Amponsah believes that the GoFundMe hub is an excellent way to highlight Black people and their work. At the time of writing, Amponsah has raised $17,093 of her initial $20,000 goal. She needs at least $60,000 to fund her entire project.
One suggestion offered by Amponsah is for GoFundMe to also contribute towards some of the initiatives.
"At GoFundMe, we're always looking for opportunities to help spread joy far and wide. We're proud to say that we've contributed $500CAD to each fundraiser featured on the Black joy hub page," says Princivil in response. "The page will be refreshed frequently, and GoFundMe will continue to find new ways to support Black joy stories."
According to Princivil, GoFundMe’s mission is to amplify Black voices, help their campaigns, and raise more awareness. She encourages Black fundraisers to join the hub and start their own campaigns. Maybe you can find some "Black Joy" of your own by raising funds for your business or organization.
“Join GoFundMe and start your fundraisers," says Princivil. "We are here to amplify your message and your community causes.”