Let Black History Month “take you on a journey of self-reflection and transformation,” Trinity Western University (TWU) coach Cheryl Jean-Paul said in an essay published on the university website on Monday, Feb. 1 with the title A Different Life Journey On A Shared Street.
“We can all do better. We can all be better,” said Jean-Paul, head coach of women’s basketball at Langley-based TWU.
She described how she has the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s I Have A Dream speech hanging in her office, “and every time I read it, I wonder, how would he speak into our situation today?”
Even in what Jean-Paul called the “Western Canadian, British Columbian, Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley context… we are still referring to the fear of what and who remain unknown to us and our consistent struggle.”
She made a call for tolerance and acceptance of people “whose skin tone is different, whose syntax is unfamiliar, whose name is challenging to pronounce, whose food is mysterious, whose look is ‘exotic’, but who, as our brother and our sister, should still bring harmony to our life.”
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“If I am to be honest, there are times when I’ve slowed down long enough to remember that I don’t always fit,” Jean-Paul said. “But that’s not the calling God had in store for me, to feel less than because I’m not the same. We matter, I matter, to God and always have.”
“We are all human, we share fears, tears, laughter and joy,” Jean-Paul added.
“We did not grow up in the same home, or attend the same church or school, but yet, if we believe the Bible to be true, then we are the most important kind of family – adopted spiritual kin.”
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Jean-Paul added TWU athletics has initiated a group of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People Of Colour) and “ally student-athletes and staff,” who have come together as the Diversity and Anti-Racism Council (DARC)
“We want to enhance communication and education that initiates long-lasting change,” Jean-Paul said.
Her post noted that the coach is of Haitian and German-Mennonite descent, born and raised in Winnipeg and currently living in Langley.
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