KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – The journalism and advocacy I do, first in the Halifax Media Co-op and now for the Nova Scotia Advocate, have opened many doors for me.
One such thing was how I got to attend the provincial NDP convention over the weekend.
NDP Leader Gary Burrill and I have had several conversations about how he likes my work for the Nova Scotia Advocate. My work was actually brought up by several people at the convention.
All this talking reminded me of this Media Co-op story, My life as a poverty activist and writer, which explains why I got into doing this in the first place.
We can all agree that it is a good idea for me to remain non-partisan with my journalism. However, it’s my job to remind people what experiencing poverty is like:
- Experiencing feelings of loneliness and social isolation.
- Having a difficult time with maintaining healthy friendships
- Not having good relationships with family members
- Not being able to meet someone in life who has romantic interest in you
- Depending on places like soup kitchens and drop-ins in order to get out of your apartment and have a life as well as for the free food offered at these places
- Falling through the cracks of the mental health system
- Losing a job and your financial situation changing as a result
- Dealing with the systemic problems and bureaucratic nonsense of programs like ESIA through the Department of Community Services
- Having disabilities that prevent you from participating in the workforce full time, and in some cases not being able to work even part time
- Being a welfare recipient who once had healthy friendships and relationships, but all ended due to past people in their lives being believers in welfare stigma
Many people have told me what they love about my overall journalism is that I am one of the few reporters they know who reports on all of the above issues and especially in the style I use for my reporting.
Of course, attending something like a huge policy convention is not something an income assistance recipient would normally be doing on a weekend. But for me it was a great experience.
Here is the story, On volunteering in an election campaign, where I felt my relationship with the NDP began.
While I was at the convention I had the opportunity to speak on some party resolutions, and socialize with a lot of the members. Also on Saturday night I got to attend the Dancing with Jagmeet Singh event.
While I was having fun, I was at the same time thinking about how many other income assistance recipients are spending their weekends, just sitting in their apartments and keeping socially isolated. That’s why I took every opportunity to talk to people at the convention about these poverty issues.
P.S. In case you were wondering, I am taking a short break from my journalism and from social media. However, I will return soon. My work must continue.
Kendall Worth is an award-winning anti-poverty activist who lives with disabilities and tries to make ends meet on income assistance.
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