Communities Mobilizing for Justice – Addressing Poverty through Dialogue to Action

Communities Mobilizing for Justice – Addressing Poverty through Dialogue to Action

The Richmond Poverty Response Committee (PRC) is a coalition of Richmond residents and agencies working together to reduce poverty and the impacts of poverty with research, projects, and public education.

Our project, called “Communities Mobilizing for Justice – Addressing Poverty through Dialogue to Action” has created a space for lived experience experts (the Richmond Advocacy and Support Committee) to speak out on issues that affect them daily. This is thanks to generous funding from the Vancouver Foundation, Richmond Community Foundation, the City of Richmond and Literacy Richmond.

The Richmond Advocacy and Support Committee (RASC) members have been practicing self-advocacy and leadership skills through art and literacy. They have been hard at work participating in workshops, practicing public speaking, and communicating important messages through performances and art. Two members of the RASC have also become active members of the PRC Steering Committee. RASC members have joined the VCH Community Engagement Health Network and the Richmond ACT team.

In June of 2018, the group successfully hosted a public forum on one of their most pressing issues – housing and homelessness. Local decision makers and service providers along with many other community members attended this forum to listen to RASC present their findings and tell their stories. The forum included a play called “Hope Beyond Homelessness,” in which people experiencing poverty gave audience members a closer understanding of the real-life challenges surrounding housing and homelessness. The performances included poetry, song, drama, music, photography, visual art and personal stories.

To date, the RASC has held three public forums and has performed the play “Hope Beyond Homelessness” four times for the public. The art installation “Home is…” that they created has been displayed four times including at the BC Housing Central conference in Vancouver, the largest non-profit housing conference in BC.

On Jan. 14 of this year, the Richmond municipal government officially endorsed the ABC Plan to reduce poverty, following a presentation by Theresa Head, Richmond Advocacy & Support Committee (RASC) member. In a letter to B.C. Premier John Horgan, Mayor Malcolm Brodie states the following:

“While recognizing the challenges of implementing such an ambitious plan, strong measures are required to stem the increasing inequality manifest in our society. We anticipate that, should the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition’s ABC Plan be implemented, the forthcoming BC Poverty Reduction Strategy will provide the hope, dignity opportunity and inclusion that we wish for all residents.”

Click here to view the full letter, as well as the reply from the premier’s office.

Stay tuned for updates on the next forum, which is in the planning stage this summer.