• Changing The Face Of Poverty

August 26, 2020 CFP Meeting Summary

Updated: Sep 8, 2020

August Meeting Summary

This month we decided to focus on where we go from here:

What messages can our group get behind?

How can we get these messages out there?

We asked the group just that.

In June, we talked about a tendency for collaborative groups to get stuck in the tension of relationships and process vs. action. We focused on communication in the July meeting as an activity that is action-oriented while also helping the group better understand each other and work towards agreement on goals and vision for Changing the Face of Poverty.

First we started within. They say the answers always are within. Robyn guided us to tap into ourselves and asked “what breaks your heart when it comes to poverty in Kamloops?"

We were all given time to silently reflect. Time to think about what we see each day in our work and in our community. Time to consider what is happening to our neighbors, our community members.

We then engaged in a “Mad Tea” which is a thought gathering activity. Questions are posed to the group, everyone has 45 seconds to write their answer and then all participants submit their answer into the chat simultaneously. Here are some highlights of responses to each question:

What do you hope for others to recognize about poverty in our community?

It’s systemic. It’s everywhere. It’s not acceptable. Anyone can experience it, not just a certain group. We can all do something about it. There is an ongoing lack of care and regard for others within our system- people are more focused on wealth and self over others.

Who do we most need to reach with our messages?

Decision makers, government, policy makers, funding, educators, children, neighbors, the public, internal mindsets, beliefs and assumptions.

We need a cultural shift. A paradigm shift.

What messages would help us shift those ideas or assumptions?

Stories from those with lived experience. To show the faces of poverty. Empathy. We all benefit from helping one another. We are all interconnected. Poverty can happen to anyone. Look at root causes and how some benefit at the expense of others. Share how poverty has been addressed in other places.

Following this, we engaged in a “White Board” activity to cultivate messages from the group, and to see what messages should be brought to the greater community. The white board was quickly filled with ideas, a board full of passion, hope, empathy, regard, and a yearning to see change. We feel that the responses can be distilled into a few main ideas:

  • Poverty is not a choice and does not reflect a certain group.

  • Poverty is a systemic issue.

  • We are interconnected.

  • The whole community benefits by addressing the root causes of poverty. The more we focus on lifting people out of poverty together, the better we will be as a society.

We then ventured into breakout rooms to discuss the messages we believe to be the most impact and why we were drawn to them. Similar discussions and themes arose from each breakout room. Such as the need to shift mindsets on poverty and shift and into a community of care. The importance of reducing stigma and recognizing that poverty is not a choice. If people are not enticed or see how they benefit, they are less likely to get involved. People need to be exposed and hear real life stories to begin to care or change their thinking. There needs to be a bridge between individuals and understanding the system.

Lastly, we engaged in a final “Mad Tea” to cultivate all we had weaved throughout the meeting to determine what messages shined through and the next steps to getting them out there. As discussed before, the primary messages focus on reducing stigma and recognizing poverty as a systemic issue, not a choice and the broader impact of addressing poverty, when our community is better as a whole we all benefit. We then drew on ways to get the message out and next steps we need to take. Common ideas that emerged include the creation of a video, a public awareness campaign and the use of other social media outlets. Next steps mentioned include creating a communication plan with key messages, planning and creating a video, creating a social media campaign, establishing a working committee and scanning other educational campaigns to learn from outcomes.

Our short hour and half journey was brought full circle. From inner reflection, idea gathering, intention, collaboration and consensus on a direction forward.

Please join us next time to continue the conversation and bring us closer to getting our messages out there.

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