Black History Month may be annually celebrated with plenty of passion and genuine interest, but learning Black history shouldn’t be confined to only a handful of weeks in February. For many, like 30-year-old Canadian beach volleyball player Shanice Marcelle, this annual month-long celebration is much bigger and more personal than that.
“Black History Month, to me, is not just a one-month thing, it is a yearly thing,” said Marcelle, who’s father and grandmother immigrated to Canada from Trinidad and Tobago. “I just have to educate [myself] on Black history. I don’t know anything. You know having conversations with my Dad, and my grandmother, and my uncle from my Dad’s side, and learning about their experiences, and what they have been through, to me, that’s the most important thing of this month, and of the 365 days in general.”
To understand the importance Marcelle places on her Black roots, one must understand her journey.
The 2009 Canada Games alumna may have been born in Toronto, but at the age of five, following her parents' separation, she left Canada’s most multicultural city. Moving to a predominantly white small town called Errington on Vancouver Island with her mother Tracey, older sister Tanisha and soon-to-be-born brother Jordan. It was there, and later in Victoria, where she struggled to fit in at times.