Today is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty!
Poverty Talks is an organization affiliated with Vibrant Communities Calgary where individuals of different backgrounds who are living or have lived in poverty can advocate about this important issue. This includes working on creating better policies in our communities at the municipal, provincial and federal levels. Also challenging the way society thinks of people in poverty.
This group has a powerful voice that is making a difference on poverty related issues facing our city. Every year they hold an event on International Day to Eradicate Poverty. This year’s event is “Enough”-A Spoken Word event featuring performances from Calgarians who intimately understand the impacts of poverty and who have an important story to share.
As I look around my home and city, I wonder just how much is enough.
For example, in the building where I live there is a duffel bag full of bottles for recycling money outside one of the apartment doors. This is where a single mom with a child who has a disability lives. She is always thoughtful and kind. Earlier this year I broke my wrist and she never fails to ask how I’m doing.
In my building’s elevator, I see new Canadians who struggle with learning a new language but they always nod their heads and smile to show they care. There are also young couples with children, looking tired and people with disabilities who struggle to navigate through the inaccessible areas in our neighborhood. Still, they carry on with hope for better days and a positive point of view that our community can be strong enough to improve life for everyone.
Are we doing enough? Every day I see seniors bottle-picking and I see the homeless sleeping on our streets when I walk home from the c-train. We are dealing with a struggling economy. Many of us have lost jobs or had our hours reduced and the agencies that are created to help us are also facing their own financial and operational challenges.
We are all trying hard to make ends meet but we need to work together to ensure every one of has enough. If you’re like me you’re someone who wants to make a difference in their community.
Lately, I have realized that this is not impossible to do as one person; but to be honest; I know it takes a full community of committed people to make the biggest difference that we can in our city.
We are all a part of Calgary and my hope is that we all begin to think more about what it means to have enough and to consider the ways we can help.
For me it means being part of the solution to find ways to end poverty in our city. To help our neighbours when we can, by offering support and a listening ear. To acknowledge the tremendous good that is being done and to also remember the struggles individuals and families in our city face each and every day.
I also remember something Mayor Nenshi earlier this fall at the United Way Campaign launch. He said, My neighbour’s strength is my strength.” This year, we know the need is great and anyone can be vulnerable.
So, today on the International Day to Eradicate Poverty, I challenge everyone to do one thing that will make your community aware of how they can make a difference every day.
Thank you! – Holly DeSimone
Holly is the Social Media Coordinator at Vibrant Communities Calgary.