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.
- 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.