The T-shirt being worn by kNOw Poverty members in their drive to get out the vote in Niagara Centre riding. The caption on the back says: “Because it’s the only way things change.” (Photo by Joe Barkovich)
By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large
Welland’s kNOw Poverty group has organized an anti-poverty week leading up to the Oct. 19 federal election.
Theme of the week is: No One Left Behind.
It also co-incides with the UN’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, observed annually throughout the world on Oct. 17.
kNOw Poverty, a lobby group for anti-poverty advocates in Welland, is chaired by Paul Turner. The group is “committed to moving poverty out from the shadows into the spotlight as a high profile issue that requires immediate intervention from all levels of government,” a backgrounder says.
“We’re getting mobilized, we’re determined to make poverty issues front-burner topics in this riding,” Turner said Tuesday afternoon.
Activities during the lobby group’s Anti-Poverty Week include:
Mock Voter Pop Up Booth at the market square, Saturday, Oct. 10 from 8 a.m. to noon. It will give participants opportunity to “cast your vote on local issues that matter most to you…”;
Movie Night at Civic Square, Wednesday, Oct. 14 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. It will screen From Homeless to Harvard. It’s based on the true-life story of Liz Murray, who was homeless at 15 but worked her way through high school and then Harvard;
Rally Against Poverty, Market Square, Friday, Oct. 16 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. It opens with a poverty walk from the Wellness Complex to market square. There, keynote speaker Lori Kleinsmith will share info about a National Housing Strategy as housing is one of the key issues in this campaign. Other speakers will share compelling vignettes, some from lived experience, and there will also be live entertainment and refreshments;
Breakfast Blitz Pop Ups, Saturday, Oct. 17 at various sites in the city, with the fundamental aim of reminding people to vote on election day.
kNOw Poverty members are embarking on a vast outreach in the community to spread the word about their upcoming week. This will be done through social media, newspaper and TV coverage and a poster campaign in churches, businesses, public buildings and other high profile venues.
“We’re determined to get the word out,” says Turner. “We want as many people as possible to be aware of what will be going on.”
(Joe Barkovich lives in his hometown of Welland, Ontario, Canada’s Rose City.)