Power in People: let's be barrier free.
Two things happened on Saturday, my neighbouring riding of Dartmouth – Cole Harbour liberals choose their candidate for the next federal election – congratulations to Darren Fisher on winning the nomination! Also, after a quick stop at the candidate’s house that I worked for and supported my husband and I went to see Pride. Pride was set against the backdrop of a nationwide miners’ strike during 1984-85 in the United Kingdom. The key message of the plot was solidarity. The movie really got me thinking: in our post modern era what is solidarity? Do we even know? Generally intent would point to the labour movement, but today many times unions act no less divisive than some governments.
When I consider where we have been, and where we are as a society, I am thankful for progress. However, at the same time I am perplexed with the systems we are privy too. Our systems are broken: government, schools, roads, buses you name it. In 2014, we are moving in a societal structure generations in the making that is built on parochial and subjagating perspectives. Where we should be operating in hubs and supporting each other, many of us are in silos. We work or go to school, come home and repeat this cycle. I don’t fault fellow citizens for this, for it is very hard to chart a course adverse to socialization. As many of you know, I volunteer a lot across our city. I sit on many boards and several committees that work to varying degrees to help improve the lives of community members. Again, however there are times that many of these groups work in isolation. When I look around the common theme I see is barriers: for inclusion, political participation, employment, education, strong communities, support of diversity, raising a family, being party of the community as a youth or senior.
We have challenges in our world, but at the same time we have opportunities. But, to develop our opportunities there are at least two things I believe we first must do:
1 – Acknowledge that in our world that racism, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, ageism, classism, ableism etc exist and happen every day in every community.
2-Realize that it is only in true solidarity of all peoples regardless of background working together to support each other, to challenge oppression even when it does not impact one directly, and to celebrate individual and collective success. Strong, unadulterated solidarity is what will move all of us forward.
I see the hope in people’s eyes and the potential in their skills. It is time, we hit the reset button and as a people come together to challenge the system that whether intended or not facilitates division. I feel that as a collective, we need to shift our perspective on government. Government is not a body that dictates to us, but in fact works collaborates with all citizens. Inclusion, progress and solidarity will not come without hard work. I challenge everyone to do best in their daily lives to support inclusion and solidarity in their networks.