Part of the dream to end poverty
I miss my Dad. I miss my Mom. I miss my family. I love my husband. I love my children. I wish they knew the people whom I have known. We made the decision to leave California in 2008 and make our way back to Calgary so that we could be closer to family. It turns out that “family” means something else to other people. I have learned that family is there when you really, really need them or when they really, really need you. However, day to day, it means something else. I often get asked, oh you’re a “Beebe”, do you know so and so. To which I often reply, yes, that’s my family. However, I cannot tell you how that person is doing today. I have many relations and the phrase “All My Relations” means something different to me. I will tell you that I feel a connection to other First Nations, Metis and Inuit (FNMI) people, regardless of where they are from. I truly want FNMI people to succeed. In case you haven’t heard, I am now working at an amazing organization, working with really great people. The goal is that “All Aboriginal people are equal participants in Calgary’s prosperous future”. I want to reach this goal. What does this mean to me? It means that I will meet Social workers, Bankers, Doctors, Lawyers, Teachers, Principals, City Councilors, Executive Directors, MLAs, MPs, Prime Ministers, Presidents (the list could go on forever,) who are also Indigenous people.
What else does this mean to me? That I will not meet a child who feels alone, scared, hungry, tired, sad, exhausted with no hope. That I will not meet a senior, let alone anyone, who feels this way but has no solution. Through the years, I have learned that these feelings may lead to unhealthy behaviours. Others have described it as a feeling of hopelessness or helplessness. Our social agencies in the city have seen the results of these unhealthy behaviours.
I know what it feels like to worry about paying bills, wonder what to feed my children, to be laid off, rely on the transit, even after working late at night. I know how unhealthy and unproductive worrying is but I have been there. Over the many years, I have stood in line for services, shown a stranger three months worth of bank records and last year’s tax return in order to receive help. I have walked with other people as they have gone through these processes. I have been to networking events, job searching, interviewed even when I am not feeling my best let alone at my best. As an adult, we often have to keep going, keep trying regardless of how we are feeling. I hope that if this is happening to you, that you know there are people there to help and people who want to walk with you, even if you are short on “family”.
Which is why I am an advocate, a community worker and now an Indigenous Strategist. I now need help from you and I need your input to implement these changes and to reach this goal. Please email or send a message to us here at VCC on what this goal means to you and how can we reach it. I welcome the conversation and I look forward to the solutions. Thank-you for welcoming me into the Enough for All strategy.
Pam is the Indigenous Strategist at VCC, working to advance the implementation of the Enough for All strategy in Calgary.