According to me…..

Posts tagged ‘rally’

April 9th – Rally Against Ford


We can afford to support war efforts and we can cut taxes for the large corporations, but we cannot take care of our children, our elderly – our hungry – right here in Toronto.

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In this rally people were together in solidarity.  It was one of the biggest rallies I have attended and it was amazing to see all the different people come together.  There were the young and the old, side by side.  The union workers and the recipients of social assistance – shoulder to shoulder.  There was an overwhelming feeling of working together for what is right.

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We, the people, are not for sale, Mr. Ford – neither are our services, nor our city. 

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You say cut back, we say fight back!

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OCAP Rally – Raise the Rates


Today there was a rally.  It was like most of the rallies.  We had food, banners and a drummer, high spirits and unknown destinations, as usual. lol  There were a lot of the usual faces, but some new – seemed to me that there were more elderly folks there this time.  There was a lot of press and police, horses included.  It wasn’t the biggest rally I’ve been to, but it had something the other rallies didn’t have.

It had children!  City View Alternative school brought students.  They are doing research and a project on where the money goes.  The rich versus the poor.  They made a banner that read Hey McGuinty, we get it, why can’t you?  From the mouths of babes. 🙂  They did a small skit using chairs.  Each chair represented 10% of the money, and they had one child in each.  They made one fellow a king and through cuts and such – they slowly moved the rest of the children all down to one end chair, sitting one on top of the other.  This was to show that all those children represented all the people who have 10% of the money in society, and the King had the remaining parts.   I think that’s what they did.  It was hard to tell with streetcars passing us and being on the opposite side of the road.  Each time a streetcar passed and blocked our view, the crowd got upset.  We were all watching the children.  How can they, the government, ignore that?

The real difference was the children in this rally.  People were watching them, cheering them.  Moods were lifted to see them.  It sent a strong message.  These are your future voters, they are the ones learning about what you are doing.  They will run this country.  They were there to be heard.  They understand that the math does not add up, why can’t the government?  It’s common sense – and the kids, they get it.

We started at Nathan Phillip’s Square and crossed the street to chant and protest as we were told Dwight Duncan was in that building.   We then marched up University and over to Wellesley and Bay.  For the most part, it didn’t feel as though we made any progress or changed the world, and my feet hurt.   It felt like we did the same thing we always do… with the same results – and we all know what Einstein said about that.  Definition of insanity.  I think there needs to be some creativity.

Poverty Groups Want Province to Raise Food Supplement


By ANTONELLA ARTUSO,

Queen’s Park Bureau Chief

Ontario anti-poverty activists are pushing the provincial government to invest in a $100-a-month healthy food supplement for social assistance recipients.

At a “Put Food in the Budget” rally Thursday in front of the Queen’s Park building that houses the finance ministry, dozens of activists called for the measure to be included in the upcoming spring budget.

Anglican Bishop Linda Nicholls, speaking on behalf of 80 parishes representing over 30,000 Anglicans, said the deficit-plagued government doesn’t have to necessarily spend more but rather should adjust its priorities to ensure the poor have enough to eat.

An estimated 400,000 Ontarians rely on food banks, both those who are on social assistance and the working poor.

Nicholls said she was one of many prominent Ontarians who attempted to live on the “poverty diet” provided by food banks.

“I was shocked at how quickly within a day or two you began to feel not well. No fresh fruit. No fresh vegetables,” Nicholls said.

Tracy Mead, a social assistance recipient and member of the South Riverdale Health and Strength Action Group in Toronto, said the support payments don’t go far enough to buy fresh food.

To read more, CLICK HERE!

March 10 Rally


The day was wet but we were not discouraged! The finance minister, Dwight Duncan did agree to meet with a couple of people and has agreed to a future meeting with some key people from the Anglican church and Put Food in the Budget!

The Speakers at the Rally!

Michael Prue – NDP

Cheri DiNovo – NDP

Emma Frees – The Stop

Tracy Mead – Health and Strength Action Group

Elin Goulden – Anglican Church

The Rt. Rev. Linda Nicholls- Anglican Church

Rev Andrea Budgey- Anglican Church

Nov 15 Put Food in the Budget Rally Report Back


What a truly fun night!  I don’t know where to start!  …. yes, I know…at the beginning. lol

First… I met Bill King and Stacey Bulmer outside as they got out of their cab.  I knew it had to be them, given that they were carting around music equipment.  lol  See?  I’m sooo observant!  They were fantastic!  What a dynamic team!  Both of them could really sing, and I mean REALLY sing!  Their personalities were absolutely gorgeous!  We began by practicing the song we were to do later, and Stacey’s enthusiasm was so catching that it pretty much set the mood for the night!

Fred Hahn was there, and I just adore that man!  Fred is with CUPE Ontario here and he is just one of the most wonderful, funny, passionate humans I know.  I loved him right off when I first met him – picking up his food for the Do the Math Challenge.  So of course, I asked him to sing with us and he agreed…as I knew he would!  He’s up for any kind of fun!!!

I had to make a speech and I was dead nervous.  I was quite convinced I would just die up there… but it went ok and I think it was in a huge way because of Fred. lol  I got to sit beside him and he had me giggling like crazy.  He also started applauding me half through my speech… and, well, words cannot describe how much I appreciated him!  I got tons of support from friends before going!  lol  I even got some links to websites that offered to hypnotize me so that I wouldn’t have this fear of public speaking!!!  I got sexy pix posted for me, for my distraction… that may not have helped AT the speech, but it sure made me forget about doing it BEFORE the speech. LOL

I’m very lucky to have such wonderful, loving supportive people in my life.  So, speech over… we got to sing all together and that was a riot!  We had about ten of us up there on stage and what a gang. lol  Everyone was being all goofy and that made it much easier to do.

A lot of really great people spoke, and had terrific things to share and ideas.  Archbishop Colin Johnson,  Diana Stapleton – Weston Food Bank, MY Fred Hahn – CUPE,  Avvy Go – Colour of Poverty, and myself… then we had some great music!  Bill King wrote a song with his wife about spousal abuse… really quite something.  Empowering… And we saw a few more speakers… then Bill and Stacey did another song.  They are trying to bring back the feeling that bands used to be like in the 60’s…fighting for what’s right and fair.  Activist songs.  It was really a great tune and they’re getting other musicians in on it… proceeds going to help the cause.

All in all a fantastic night.  I’m proud of myself for doing what I said I would.  I may not have been perfect, but for my first time, I’m pretty impressed.  In school I always told my teachers…just go ahead and give me a zero on that.  I won’t be doing it.   🙂

And really… huge thanks to Susan B… she is an inspiration to me.  I guess she’s become somewhat of a role model for me.  Since I met her I’ve done all sorts of things that I never foresaw.  I’m learning and doing things I’m proud of.  Thank the Goddess I met her!!!  😉

November 15th, Rally! Do the Math Challenge


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What Does it Mean to Me?


I’ve been asked to speak at the rally on November 15th.  Put Food in the Budget and The Stop are holding a rally to wrap up the October Do the Math Challenge.  We are going to have speakers and music and someone is creating a slide show.  There were 350 people last year, so I’m really nervous and not sure yet that I can do it. LOL  I’m sure I’ll pass out and die..right there… :S

I’ve been asked to speak to the question of *what this campaign means to me*.

I’m on Social Assistance, so that makes me an expert on this topic.  No one can survive on the amount of money you are given on social assistance, so local services become very important.  I discovered that location is everything.  I recently moved to Scarborough.  I was living downtown.  I used to walk to a church winter program called *Out of the Cold*.  We would make breakfast each morning through the week and dinner on weekend nights.  I can no longer access these services as I would need $6.00 for each trip and I would have to travel long before 6 am.  The bus service here doesn’t start until 6:45.  I would go and eat and they often handed out food to take home.  I can’t go to any of the food banks or drop ins that I used to use because they are based on your address.  These are the reasons I had food before my move.

I got involved with South Riverdale Community Health Centre a year ago.  We created a group called the Health and Strength Action Group.   I started volunteering there because Social Assistance gives you an additional $100.00 if you can prove you volunteer somewhere.  It’s supposed to be for transportation – for a metro pass that costs more than $100.00, but I use it for food.  I was skeptical when I first joined.  Yes, it all sounded good in theory – the fact that all humans have rights and should be allowed to eat, to have dignity, and health so I decided to stick with it.  I used to feel ashamed of being on social assistance.  If anyone asked where I worked I would tell them and quickly change the topic, avoiding eye contact, avoiding the scornful look that was sure to follow.  I know that people think recipients are lazy, living off the system, and they have no desire to work – I even believed it.  My self confidence, self esteem and self worth didn’t exist.  In the beginning I was embarrassed to talk about this campaign.  I thought I had no right to ask for the things we were demanding.

Since then I’ve been to rallies, handed out fliers, put up posters, attended meetings, spoken and sang in public, and I’ve listened.  I’ve listened to all the people that now surround me and they are saying I have a right to eat a healthy diet.  They are telling me that I’m a person and I count.  I was at the first Do the Math report back, at the Barns, last year and to say that my eyes have since been opened is an understatement.  In the year that has passed I truly understand how diet plays a key role in your mental and physical health.  Watching the Do the Math Challenge unfold this time around has been astounding.  Being involved in this campaign I have seen the changes, the solidarity and growing support, and I’ve seen opinions and misconceptions shift toward empathy and understanding once knowledge is gained about the harsh reality of trying to survive on social assistance.  All of Ontario is saying the same things that I’ve been hearing all year!  Imagine, it might just be true!  Living on Social Assistance doesn’t have to be so painful and people in over 20 communities in and around Toronto will tell you that this is the case!  The government would have us believe there is no money for feeding the people that vote them into office, or that they would have to choose between programs and someone else would have to do without.  Apparently it isn’t important that you have strong, confident, healthy citizens that can contribute to society.  The people don’t agree.

Being a part of this campaign means that I can hold my head up.  I don’t feel ashamed and I believe with every fiber of my being that all people deserve food.  It’s a basic right.  I know I’m not alone anymore, and I walk with my self respect, my self esteem and my self worth in tact.  I walk with all the people who are involved in this campaign, the people that are fighting for change.  It gives me strength and confidence to know that people actually care.   It took years for people to build up these biased notions of people wanting to be on assistance because it’s easier than working and it may take just as long to reverse this thinking and bring about change, but change is what we need because people are starving.  Ask yourself if you could survive on $585.00 a month, take the math challenge, then try to look me in the eye and honestly say everything is ok.

What this campaign means to me is that people will be able to eat, they will be able to make healthy choices for their diets.  It means that food banks will no longer be a necessity to survival.  Winning this campaign means that we can all hold our heads high.  I’m proud to be a part of this fight and I demand change.  I also hope there’s no need to hold another rally next year!

Put Food in the Budget!

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