Cierra Thomas, a student and soccer player at the University of New Brunswick for four years, is hoping her story will help show what people of colour deal with, and how other people might become allies.
Thomas penned a post for the UNB Reds website, describing the racism she's experienced as a Black woman.
This year has been difficult, she said in an interview.
"One of my favourite quotes from an activist is, being Black in 2020 is being stressed about the pandemic, worried about your health and your well-being, and then going on and watching another person of colour being murdered on TV," Thomas said.
"You have all of that, and you still have racism."
Thomas said racism can be less overt than police brutality and racial slurs. She started her post talking about a question she's been asked hundreds of times: "Where are you from?"
"I'm from Canada," said Thomas, who was born in London, Ont.
"I was born here. I don't know anywhere else. I'm just as Canadian as anyone else."
She cautions against developing a smug attitude about Canada's record on fighting racism.
"We like to look to the States and point fingers and whatnot, but we have racism here, and we're very covert with it."
In her post, she writes about her 16th birthday. One of her friends gave a toast and called her one of the most beautiful Black girls in school.
For Thomas, it was a reminder that she was different.
"That I couldn't be just beautiful or attractive," she wrote. "That I was only beautiful because I was black. Again, the colour of my skin put me on a different standard."
For Thomas, the issue is the colour of her skin is speaking for her before she can say anything, and she wants that to change.
"Enough is enough," she said. "We've having the same conversations that we had 50 years ago, 100 years ago, and nothing is still being done."
Last week, athletes from leagues such as the the NBA, WNBA, and MLB decided to not play games in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake, who was shot in the back by police last weekend in Kenosha, Wisc., in front of three sons.
"This is bigger than sports. This is our lives," said Thomas, who cried out of sadness and joy when she learned the players had refused to play.
"If you aren't willing to defend us off the court, defend us off the field, defend us outside the classroom, whatever it may be, you're not supporting us."
Thomas said she didn't write her story to point blame but to help people could understand how they can make a difference.
One of her suggestions is that people read and educate themselves on Black history and racism.
"I would start with having conversations like these, starting with educating yourself, listening to Black activists, listening to Black leaders," said Thomas.
"Reading books, listening to podcasts, changing your algorithms on your social media, getting out there and looking for people who you wouldn't normally follow."
Thomas also suggests watching The 13th, a documentary on Netflix about the prison system in the United States, and reading White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, and The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander.
Thomas said it's also important to call out your friends and family when needed, even if it's hard.
"It even just starts at your dinner table. Maybe your uncle, your brother, your cousin, your mom, your dad, maybe says something that isn't appropriate in 2020, and never should've been appropriate.
"Now you can make that initial conversation and say, 'Listen, what you said isn't OK. It's not OK with me.' Or 'What did you mean by that,' or 'This is how that can be taken."
Since her story was posted, Thomas has heard from friends, students and strangers who have thanked her for sharing.
She said she isn't expecting to change a million minds. She's just hoping to impact at least one.
"If you thought something yesterday and read something today and it changed your mind, if you weren't at a Black Lives Matter protest last week but you're going to be there next week ... if you can't have a conversation today, but you're willing to have it tomorrow, I think that's really what I want to get across," said Thomas.
For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of.