Over 75 people filled the Workers’ Arts and Heritage Centre on Tuesday, October 21 to view the quilt that formed the basis of a postcard campaign conducted over the last several months in Hamilton.
The Hamilton 25 in 5 group (Hamilton working Group on Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy) hosted the event and co-chairs Brooke Camplin and Deirdre Pike moderated the speakers. Speakers included staff of the Arrell Youth Detention Centre where the quilt was created; Don Fraser, president of the Hamilton District Labour Council; Jane Aronson, Director of McMaster’s School of Social Work; Marv Friesen, minister, Welcome Inn; Peter Graefe, member of the Hamilton Working Group and McMaster professor; Debbie Wilke, Director on the board of the Hamilton Social Planning and Research Council; Rosemarie Chapman, member of the Campaign for Adequate Welfare and Disability Benefits; two leaders of ROCK – Raising Our Children’s Kids; Tom Cooper, Roundtable for Poverty Reduction; Barb Miller, Liberal riding association president.
These local leaders spoke about why they endorse the 25 in 5 declaration. They talked about why a poverty reduction strategy for Ontario is so important for Hamilton. Local stories illustrated the three prongs of the strategy (sustaining employment, livable incomes and strong and supportive communities).
Thousands of signed postcards were on display and the group was told the cards would be presented to Deb Matthews on Monday, Oct. 27.
Local print and broadcast media covered the event. The concept of a Living wage was picked up by one of the local radio stations.
There was so much energy in the place – everyone wants to participate in helping this get implemented. More and more people are joining the local effort to fight poverty. There was much enthusiasm for the arts aspect of the efforts with regard to the quilt. People were moved to tears by some of the stories that were shared by the speakers.
Prepared from information submitted by Deirdre Pike, Hamilton Social Planning and Research Council