‘You are not alone’: With late father watching over her, Montrealer keeps inspiring change, empowering others

“We are here to help,” says Aiesha Robinson, founder of Born to Rise Montreal, a non-profit dedicated to helping others overcome obstacles - advocating for the power of storytelling. Pamela Pagano reports.

By Pamela Pagano

Aiesha Robinson’s message could not be clearer: we are born to rise.

The founder of an organization dedicated to helping others overcome obstacles, Robinson spreads that message across her community and social media.

The non-profit organization, started in 2015, is aptly named “Born to Rise.”

So when Robinson was faced with her own recent devastating heartache – the loss of her father to cancer last October – the young Montrealer put her own lessons into practice.

“He loved doing good,” said Robinson of her dad. “He would literally take his shirt off of his back for somebody else. And I believe I got those qualities from him and because of that, I am who I am today because of my father.”

Robinson shares her story with students at local schools. And with COVID-19 safety in mind, she’s taken to Instagram to host live videos about overcoming grief.

The activist has always advocated for the power of storytelling.

Aiesha Robinson, founder of “Born to Rise.” (Credit: Aiesha Robinson/handout)

After being diagnosed with vitiligo at age 18 – a skin condition that discolours certain patches of the body – she created “Born to Rise.”

“It started with a small white dot and gradually over time it started to spread more and more to what you see it as today,” said Robinson of her skin condition.

“So I have it on my hands, on my eyes, above my lip, on my lip, on my toes. I don’t have a pedicure so I’m not going to show you those!”

Starting the non-profit organization – and the inspirational events that are at the core of the foundation – was Robinson’s way of speaking up and overcoming some of the darkest times in her life.

It was also a way to share her journey with others in the hopes of inspiring them, making others feel less alone, more connected and empowered.

Aiesha Robinson, founder of “Born to Rise.” (Credit: Aiesha Robinson/handout)

At “Born To Rise” events, public speakers fill auditoriums with their inspiring words and share the stories of their lives’ ups and downs.

“We can let others know that you are not alone in whatever it is that you’re going through,” said Robinson. “You are supported, you’re loved and we are here to help.”

Due to the pandemic and the loss of her father, “Born to Rise” has been on Robinson’s back burner. These days she speaks at schools and on social media.

But she says her father continues to inspire her every day, and because of that, with time, the event will come back bigger than ever.

“Now that I know I have the best guardian angle watching me, I know it’s time for me to continue what I’ve been meant to do.”

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