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Going to the peripheries

Eleanor McCloskey, CND

October 17 was the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Thousands of people representing over 100 groups across Canada marked the day by calling on the federal government to take immediate action on this ongoing violation of human rights. As part of the Dignity for All campaign, CHEW ON THIS! my friend Patricia Power and I stood on street corners in downtown Charlottetown handing out brown paper bags to passers-by. The bags contained a snack, a fridge magnet reading CHEW ON THIS! and a post card to be signed and mailed to the Office of the Prime Minister. The message to government was simple: " The country is watching. It's time to show the millions of people in Canada living in poverty that their government cares about them." The supporters of Dignity for All are asking the Prime Minister Trudeau and new government that in the first 90 days, a real commitment be shown to a poverty-free Canada by choosing effective human rights policies and making poverty a budget priority.

This action of standing on street corners, mingling with people of all classes is always an eye-opening experience. Some folks totally dismiss us; some are rude, while others are truly grateful that we are doing this action. In situations like this (even though there is no real comparison) I often think about Marguerite Bourgeoys and the many hurdles she had to overcome in order to carry out her mission. I consider it a privilege that through simple actions of social justice I am able to do “a little" walking in St. Marguerite's footsteps. God is good!


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