2016 in review

We're back, it's been a wonderful break over the holidays, and our members are already preparing for the work that needs to be done in 2017. But first it's a good idea to look back and reflect on the year we had.

Internet jokes about 2016 being a very dark year put aside, for Poverty Talks, our year was one of the most successful years in our history. Thanks to our new three priorities - which you can find out more about by checking the drop-down menu above - we've been able to focus our efforts like never before and coordinate with Vibrant Communities Calgary and the Enough for All initiative to reduce poverty in Calgary. Our year started with several sessions to establish what our three priorities should be, and it was difficult, but we found most of our issues fell inside one of three areas: Basic Income, Dignified Service Delivery, and Food Security. We have labeled these our "Core Priorities."

For Basic Income, Poverty Talks members continue to affirm and advocate that a Universal Basic Income is the simplest and greatest solution to ending poverty. The basic income determinants must take into account family size and disability. Provincially, though not exactly Basic Income, a minimum wage increase was welcomed this year, and we welcome the Province continuing it's commitment to increase minimum wage to fifteen dollars an hour by 2018. We are also raising awareness that fifteen an hour is not living wage, and continuing to advocate for a living wage. Our biggest story though is co-hosting along with Vibrant Communities Calgary a very special guest, Senator Art Eggleton (Lib.) who has long been advocating for Universal Basic Income in Canada. Several members of Poverty Talks met Senator Eggleton for a private lunch, and then at the John Dutton Theatre we hosted him as he spoke to a standing room only crowd about the importance of Universal Basic Income and how a Negative Income Tax system might be implemented.

Our Dignified Service Delivery team had a busy year as well, hosting several events throughout the year, most notably taking up the mantras "Nothing About Us Without Us" and "Dignity is not tied to a set of keys." Members of Poverty Talks attended the Soul of the Next Economy forum and conference and hosted a session at the conference - a gathering of commercial, non-profits, and faith leaders - about ensuring that dignity and human rights are part of every step of assisting someone in need and that their voice is most important above all others in the organization.

Peer Connections had a busy year, culminating in our International Day to Eradicate Poverty "Enough" spoken word event. People living in poverty partnered with Poverty Talks members and mentors Erin Dingle and Micheline Maylor to bring the voice of lived experience to the discussion of poverty solutions. At some times funny, sometimes tearful, these powerful poems, stories, and histories moved almost 200 people at the John Dutton Theatre, and was covered by NewScoop YYC, a local independent journalist collective, and promoted by All Together Dignity 4th World, the international organization that founded International Day to Eradicate Poverty.

Additionally, Poverty Talks had three of it's members attend the Canadian Alliance to End Homeless conference in London, Ontario. The work involved will be reported to Poverty Talks in the coming year. Connections were made across the country to help understand what is working, what isn't, and to innovate new ideas and help ensure that the voice of those in poverty was a presence at the conference and part of the discussions about policies affecting their lives.

Poverty Talks also took part in Longest Night of the Year, a memorial service to honor members of the homeless community who passed away this past year. This was the third year this event has been held in Calgary, founded by members of the homeless community in partnership with the Calgary Homeless Foundation. Poverty Talks provided hot drinks and hand warmers for those in attendance at Olympic Plaza on December 25th, as well as being there to pay tribute to those we knew who we lost.

Moving forward, Poverty Talks will continue to advocate for the three Core Priorities through 2017, but rest assured, we will not neglect other issues and continue to provide a safe space and avenues for the voice of poverty to be heard and that all voices and issues matter.

Poverty Talks Steering Committee Member
2016 in review 2016 in review Reviewed by Poverty Talks! on 4:58 PM Rating: 5


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