“Filming The People’s Blueprint”May 9th, 2010 | By Cheryl Smith | Category: Campaigns (incl.) Grassroots, Health, Housing
May 2010 c.smith ( photo Fierce Light by Kelly Mackin)
“The importance, power, and logic of peer-everything needs to be brought to the fore of mainstream consciousness.” Laura Pesantez
It has been an extraordinary opportunity for Peacock to be invited to this table with a group of some twenty people from all over Ontario who share their experience on Social Assistance through a myriad of lenses and who aim to provide a People’s Blueprint for Social Assistance Reform through research in their respective communities.
As they with lived experience of poverty research others with lived experience, so too does Peacock Poverty- with lived experience- report, research and learn of the Panels’ work through the process and fruition of their labor. This is historic, remarkable, and hopefully a sign of the times.
These twenty people are bright, talented, creative, energetic, and productive, as “we” are, and yet are left to languish in their respective “cells”. Until now.
“By the people, for the people”, they study community-based research learning how to gather information without bias, collecting data from us to study and formulate ideas and suggestions for change, for us and for the community at large.
Together, they have managed to break free and find the common ground where solutions might actually be found. This is a place of hope and joy, of tears and laughter, of challenge and accomplishment, and of community.
It has been an enlightening and inspiring journey thus far. The group sizzles with imagination, with compassion and understanding, and with a willingness and desire to help each other that is overwhelming.
There is no black and white here, no one size fits all, yet common themes emerge. We with lived experience can all guess what they might be: stigma, barriers, want, frustration, isolation, housing and food are just the tip of the iceberg as these folks dig deep to discover what might actually transform individual lives and therefore our communities at large.
One can only hope their hard work does not go unnoticed or duly noted, that this is not just another example of “lip-service” and that this Liberal government (McGuinty 2010) will not renege again (eg. Special Diet Cut) and hold to its promise of a Review that actually results in the positive change that we who believe know is possible for now and for the next generation to come.
Peacock would like to thank the Panel’s facilitators and members for opening its doors and allowing us to bring to you
The People’s Panel:
Visit The People’s Blueprint page (found along the top of the site) where everything Blueprint can be found. Comments welcomed on this post for both.