In their own words: Starbucks partners on what owning and celebrating everyday Black excellence means to them
In February, Starbucks Canada is proud to honour Black History Month and celebrate Black excellence and the many ways its partners (employees) and communities demonstrate it every day.
Rudo, store manager
"My journey is one of hard work and striving to achieve the impossible. I am bold, brave, and comfortable in a world that has different standards of beauty and where acceptance is a rare commodity. I’m proud to share my culture through love, song, dance, and a sense of community where everyone feels like a family. I reignite my self-confidence by knowing that I am a role model for others that would never be able to have the grace to be authentic and true to themselves. I celebrate those that welcome me and focus on the amazing humans that just love on everyone. I know the light within me will uplift, encourage, and touch many and I am meant for greater things. I am a proud Black woman.
Chris, district manager
“I've been a partner for 21 years and this year I had the privilege to become the A220 Black Partner Network (BPN) advocate lead. Reigniting and celebrating Black Excellence means to me that we pay homage and respect to the trailblazers who've made significant contributions within the Black community, the world and in culture. During the time of Black History Month, I take the time to listen, educate myself and peers, and share stories with my team. I believe it's vitally important to create an inclusive space and community for Black Partners. The BPN has become that space. They continue to advocate and celebrate Black Excellence every day. My goal is to continue to promote equity, education, allyship, partner development and creating an environment for partners to be their authentic selves.”
“I believe for a lot of young Black people, there is a high expectation to excel in every area of life such as work, school etc. I think the need to disprove stereotypes and live up to the standard of Black Excellence drives a lot of us to take on so much in our lives, which can lead to burnout. I know I’ve experienced this in high school, and again in university which led to my time off in school for the sake of my mental health. And so, I’d love for other young Black people to know, Black Excellence doesn’t necessarily mean taking on the weight of the world while continuing to be successful but accepting that your existence is enough to be excellent. Despite the odds of systemic racism and being such a minority in Canada, we can and will thrive. I believe, Black Excellence shouldn’t exist simply in the doing of Black people but in the being of Black people. You are enough!”
Brittany, store manager
This Black History Month, I am challenging myself to share more, to be present, and to embrace more of my accomplishments. Black Excellence is about connecting our diversities and our experiences. It is about spending the time to figure out what fills us up, and what enriches our lives. I work hard to show up for myself, create new experiences, and find ways to connect with other people. For me, I am living Black Excellence when I am actively working towards achieving my goals, when I am involved with projects, I am excited about, and when I take on opportunities that allow me to grow.
Alicia, shift supervisor
“I was born and raised in Toronto, ON in a Guyanese/Indian household. To me, Black Excellence for everyone looks a little different, but what I think remains the same is being unapologetically yourself. My journey to owning my Blackness took a hitch in the road after a DNA test when I was 18 turned out I was 47% Indian and 53% a mix of African descents. These results shouldn’t have technically changed anything for me: I still looked Black, grew up Black, and loved being Black, but somehow, I now doubted myself. I felt as though I was a fraud and that I could no longer identify myself as Black. None of that was true because being Black and owning everything excellent about it is not just your origins, but the sense of community and culture that comes with it. Understanding the trials and tribulations, but also celebrating the beauty and uniqueness. Remembering this helps me to wake up every day and be proud of who I am.”