Last week, some Central Alberta Poverty Reduction Alliance (CAPRA) members headed up to Edmonton for a conference hosted by the Tamarack Institute for Community Engagement called Cities Reducing Poverty – When Mayors Lead.
The event was, as with all Tamarack and Vibrant Communities events, jam-packed with learning and thought-provoking presentations and discussion. Inevitably, when the CAPRA gang gathered for supper in the evening, one or more of us would comment: “My brain is on overload”.
Here are some of the conference take-aways our group reported:
Lori: “I was already wondering about poverty and human rights, so the presentations by Elizabeth McIsaac of Maytree reinforced this for me. St. Catherine’s Mayor, Walter Sendzik spoke about creating a culture of compassion and inclusion. Liz Weaver could not attend, but her statement “What would it take” came to mind as it leads to generative dialogue…What would it take to engage our municipal leaders to join the effort…What would it take to remove local barriers…What would it take to develop metrics that would help drive the initiative forward?”
Monica: “The local government(s) needs to take more of a leadership role in looking at poverty in our community(ies). They need “to want to” do something to move the needle to then be able to shout out ‘Look what we have done to better our community for all citizens’; this is the challenge for CAPRA. It takes a whole community from the top down to be involved in this social issue. We need to engage the people ‘walking the walk’ to find out what needs to be changed in our current system to ensure that poverty is addressed.”
Tricia: “If we use a human rights approach for housing and poverty then we should be able to move further together. Also, I learned a heck of a lot more about indigenous poverty needs. We need to work on making an alliance with our Aboriginal agencies/lived experience folks to give them an avenue to advocate for the human rights of ‘their people’. By addressing their needs we improve the overall health and vibrancy of the community.”
Snippets of quotes from the various presentations, workshops and conversations:
“Think about poverty reduction in terms of building a social eco-system, rather than implementing a strategy.”
“Is the best use of our resources equipping people to push a giant rock up Mt. Everest, or pushing for systems change to make the rock smaller?”
“Without income we can’t get by, but without assets we can’t get ahead.”
“Poverty Reduction cannot be done off the side of anyone’s desk.”
And here is a Storify of tweets from the entire 3 day event.
Stay tuned for news on how we take action on all we learned, or join us at the general meeting of the Alliance next Wednesday, April 20th at 8:45 at the G.H. Dawe Centre to join the discussion and help us plan our next steps. Contact info @ capovertyreduction . ca for more details or to RSVP.