Category Archives: Advocacy

Dignity for All Follow-up Meeting June 25th

Hello Everyone

As promised, I am following up from our Dignity for All meeting held on June 25th at Fairlawn Avenue United Church.  Thanks to everyone who was able to attend. Participants to date come from a large number of organizations:  the United Church Toronto Southeast Presbytery Justice and Global Issues committee and Social Justice Project; the Noor Cultural Centre; Stitching the Social Safety Net; Weston King Neighbourhood Centre; Multi-faith Alliance to End Homelessness; ISARC; Freedom 90;  Voices for a Just Society; Catholic Charities of Toronto  and a number of United Churches (Bathurst, Central and Fairlawn Avenue).

Imagine how many voters we would reach if each of us worked with our respective organizations to spread the word about the need for a national poverty reduction strategy, leading up to the federal election!

On June 25th we

  • Reviewed the Dignity for All recommendations for a National Poverty Reduction Strategy.
  • Discussed the action ideas for raising the profile of poverty in the upcoming election that came out of the first Dignity for All meeting on May 25th.
  • Developed a list of ‘next steps to move us toward achieving our goals.  See “Our ACTION goals” below.

Key messages:

  • We should educate ourselves about the issues to the best of our ability, but we don’t need to be economists or policy experts to speak out.
  • Each of us has the power to do something.  All movements start somewhere, and usually from small beginnings.  At the very least, engage friends, family and neighbours in the conversation about poverty and why we need to do something about it.  When federal candidates come to your door step, tell them how distressed you are about growing poverty in our city, and ask them what they will do to make poverty a thing of the past.
  • Many of us are engaged in front-line support programs for those living in poverty or have had first-hand experience of poverty.  Tap into these relationships and experiences to fuel even more powerful advocacy.  Statistics tell one story, but individual stories speak to the heart!

Our ACTION goals: 1) Our first goal is to educate ourselves about poverty in Canada, including what the experts are saying about how to tackle it.  Here are some key websites to get you started, but if you would like more information on any particular topic, let me know and I will find it for you:

a) Dignity for All plan: http://www.cwp-csp.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/DignityForAll_Report-English-FINAL.compressed.pdf

b) Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Alternative Budget: https://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/reports/alternative-federal-budget-2015

c) Tax is not a 4-letter Word: Excellent TVO interview on The Agenda: http://tvo.org/video/203402/alex-himelfarb-more-four-letter-word

d) Income inequality – Richard Wilkinson interview on The Agenda: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWHFdEhsbxg&list=PLwtFhf_Y2UY3EuhIljqVR06_KX63GJzNd&index=3

e) Tap into personal stories

f) Toronto’s poverty reduction strategy: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2015/06/23/toronto-releases-20-year-poverty-busting-plan.html

g) Maytree Foundation newsletter link: http://maytree.com/policy/newsletter  This organization is devoted to eliminating poverty and reducing income inequality.

 2) Our second goal is to make poverty a key issue in the upcoming federal election:
a) Develop a bank of questions about poverty that we can ask federal candidates in the upcoming
election campaign.  Beth Baskin and Kathy Salisbury will take the lead and circulate a draft for
comments.  Final version to be circulated within our respective organizations.
b) Consider running an All Candidates’ meeting: Here’s a link to a resource that will be very helpful.
c) Engage friends, family and neighbours in the discussion.
d) Start a sign/poster campaign that raises awareness about poverty leading up to the federal
election.  The sign design/slogan needs to be created.  Some thought of having kids create the
design, but Beth also knows a graphic designer she could approach.  John Ryerson to connect
with Dignity for All campaign to see if they have anything like this planned.  If not, we would take
the initiative to design and tap into their mailing list to send electronic versions across the country.
In the last provincial election, the lawn sign said something like I’m voting for a poverty-free
Ontario.  Any ideas for what this federal sign should say?
 
That’s all for now.  
Let’s keep in touch to continue to share our ideas and expertise!
 
Thanks so much,
Kathy 
 
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Dignity for All Workshop at Fairlawn challenges participants to make poverty an important issue for all federal candidates

We had 43 participants at the Dignity for All workshop on May 24th, including 17 from Fairlawn.  I counted 6 people in the room who I know have lived experience of poverty, and we had representatives from Voices for a Just Society, Multifaith Alliance to End Homelessness, UC Southeast Presbytery Justice and Global Issues, Freedom 90, Alliance for a Poverty-free Toronto, Faith in the City participants and Bathurst United.

Judging from the comments from participants, the workshop was very well-received.  It outlined what the Dignity for All campaign is all about, including recommendations for how the federal government can support the elimination of poverty and how we can make poverty a key issue in the upcoming federal election.  Now we need to build on the momentum from the workshop!

Here’s a link to the electronic version of the Dignity for All plan.  These are the recommendations for a national poverty reduction strategy that have been developed by the campaign, which has been endorsed by over 600 organizations, including the United Church of Canada. 
http://www.cwp-csp.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/DignityForAll_Report-English-FINAL.compressed.pdf 

We’ll plan to have a meeting at Fairlawn in late June with a very tight and focused agenda to plan how we can continue to work together to promote the campaign.  Judging by the show of hands when asked who would be interested in continuing the conversation, I think we’ll have a decent turnout.

Please let us know if you’d like to join us!

Submitted by Kathy Salisbury, Chair Fairlawn Social Justice.

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Pre-budget prayer vigil

Hello

There will be an ISARC organized prayer vigil planned at Queen’s Park on April 15th from 11am-1pm.   For more information about the vigil and to learn more about the work of ISARC (Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition), please go to http://isarc.ca/

ISARC is a provincial network of faith groups working for social justice.

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Blessings,
Kathy