Sophia Bent was born in Jamaica and moved to Canada with her mother at the age of six. With Sophia being the only child of a single mother, the two had a very close relationship.
Upon arriving in Canada, Sophia and her mother lived in Montreal for a few years. Sophia's mother worked as a housekeeper and a maid in order to put a roof over their heads and food on their table.
"Being Black women in Canada, it was a struggle for both my mom and I. She worked long hours so that we could survive, and not only did we survive, but we flourished."
Sophia has been a dietary aide at Gibson Long Term Care in Toronto for the past 30 years. She is an extremely active union member, participating in every activity she can find. One of the activities Sophia looks forward to each year is SEIU Healthcare's Black History Month Celebration.
"I am very proud to be a Black Canadian. We live in such a beautiful country that gives so many people opportunities that others don't have. It's important to learn about other places around the world and see how they live. In Canada, we wake up in the morning, turn on a tap, and clean water comes out. In less fortunate countries, they don't have simple things like clean water, clean air and education."
As the mother of two daughters, Sophia feels it's important to always remember where she came from and to share her culture with others. Recently, she travelled back to Jamaica for her father's funeral, and while it was under sad circumstances, she was able to show her children where she grew up and how the people of Jamaica live.
"It meant a lot to me to show my children the Jamaican culture. Where I'm from, you don't just go down the street to No Frills and buy your groceries, you actually live off the land. A lot of people come to Canada and forget where they came from, but it's so important to always remember your past and hold onto your culture."