The last Poverty Reduction Action Committee (PRAC) meeting, which took place on October 24, 2013, was great! Trish gave an overview and recap of the Poverty Reduction Coalition, and how the PRAC came about, while Ted Bruce’s presentation helped us all better understand the links between poverty and health, and the much greater risks of becoming sick when living in poverty. One thing really stood out for everyone: poverty cannot be tackled by simply increasing how much we spend on health care, but rather by addressing the many other aspects where poverty degrades people’s well-being, such as access to healthy food and safe housing. More focus should be on preventing rather than curing. Here’s Ted Bruce’s presentation slides, and here’s Trish’s presentation.
We also had a report-back from Priya on the Coalition’s meeting with MLA Don McRae, who is responsible for Welfare in BC. Lots of PRAC members were interested in coming, but we only had one space available so next time we’ll rotate the spot. He heard our call for a Poverty Reduction Plan for BC but said that the government can’t afford it. Now that we have launched our “Meet your MLA” campaign, we are encouraging everyone to visit their MLA and use our great resources to highlight that the cost of not doing anything to end poverty is higher than putting in a comprehensive plan to tackle it.
And, true to its name, the committee already jumped into action! A big thanks to Dragana, Raymond and Andrew for stepping up and setting up an information table at the TEDxKids, which happened on Saturday, October 26, at Science World. They spoke to people about the need to tackle poverty in BC through a comprehensive approach with legislated targets and timelines, the work of the PRAC, and handed out information leaflets to many people in attendance. All while learning and gaining experience about what resonates with people. Great job!
Some of the ideas that emerged at this month’s meeting include:
- To use a simple message/slogan to get people’s attention and spread the word more effectively.
- To engage with communities province-wide.
- To ramp up the use of social media and even try making small videos.
- To organize a team to write letters to the editor whenever an article or news piece refers to poverty. Erin and Thelma have already offered to take the lead on this! Please let me know if you’d also like to get involved.
- To create a subcommittee to brainstorm and launch a campaign that taps into BC’s generosity to charities around the holiday season (perhaps “Justice and Charity”). Andrew, Natalia, Thelma, Justin, and Mehak have already volunteered to be part of this subcommittee and you can get involved too. Fill out this doodle with your availability.
The PRAC also designated representatives to attend the Poverty Reduction Coalition’s General Meeting. Thanks to Justin, Priya, and Sharnelle for volunteering!
We decided to hold meetings every month, alternating the last Wednesday and Thursday of the month, so mark your calendars for the next one:
Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013, 6:30-8:30 PM
See you all soon!