BIPOC Project – Seun

Meet Seun, a believer in the good and the power of human love. Seun’s story is one of kindness and generosity, upholding that the individual has the power to make the world a better place. Approaching the past year as a newcomer, father, student, and business owner, Seun sees the world through rose coloured glasses. He believes that Saint John has the ability to “harness a unique power to create a bigger, better community”. He recalls the Black Lives Matter protests last spring as an example of the city’s closeness, and the grassroots desire to support one’s neighbour. Whether it be Covid restrictions or dismantling systemic racism, Seun is a firm believer in the human ability to overcome challenges and its motivation to make the world a better place for everyone.

Seun on COVID-19

Noting the prevalent divide between the pre and post pandemic world, Seun calls our attention to how drastically COVID has changed our lives. Offering a unique perspective as a father of young children, Seun recalls his own childhood in comparison to his kids. “I had so many questions at their age” he says, “But they have to worry about wearing masks and whether or not they’ll be infected. These are things that young kids are going to have to think about, so it will affect how kids are going to grow”.

Like many others, Seun finds himself craving the comforts of physical touch, missing the warmth of sharing a hug with friends, family, and neighbours. He notes how we have tried to replace the comfort of touch in other ways, recalling how we’ve turned to fist bumps and elbow bumps to fill the void of a hug or a handshake. Seun was affected especially when his friends welcomed new babies into their families. “I had four or five friends in Saint John welcome new babies. You especially miss the touch when you can’t hold the new baby” he recalls, maintaining that this was definitely a void that elbow bumps and air hugs cannot fill.

Despite COVID restrictions, Seun sees that this has not impeded the community’s desire to show compassion. A prime example of kindness himself, Seun’s small business, Door to Door Couriers, saw isolation as an opportunity to do good. Not only did they deliver groceries to families across Fredericton and Saint John, but they also did their best to support newcomers. “It’s about more than the profit” Seun says, “More importantly, we had the opportunity to show love, especially to those affected by the pandemic” He recalls that his car once broke down on his way back from Fredericton while delivering groceries, costing him 3000$ to fix. Optimistically, he sees this as an opportunity to “show love and help those who needed a hand”, oftentimes picking up groceries for newcomers on his routes for Door to Door Couriers.

Seun on Black Lives Matter

For Seun, Black Lives Matter was an outward display of community, offering a space to show community, talk about systemic issues, and spread awareness about systemic racism. While certainly an independent issue from COVID, Seun notes that isolation brought out the masses in support of Black Lives Matter. A call for community within a series of crises, Seun recalls Saint John feeling like “one big, multicultural community” as everyone gathered in support of systemic change. After months of isolating, Black Lives Matter created an explosion of activism. Combined with COVID, the Black Lives Matter movement was history in the making, a fight for human rights a unique phenomenon that stretched worldwide. “We had a mass gathering at King’s Square that everyone attended” he recalls, “It was probably the first event of this nature to happen in this city”.

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