AMAZWI ABANTU – VOICES OF THE PEOPLE
There are many initiatives around the world that have used a truth and reconciliation model to address violation or neglect of human rights or an indignity experienced personally or by groups.
It is generally agreed that this approach provides an opportunity for a deeper understanding of the injustice that has been perpetrated and for a systemic approach to reconciliation.
Truth Hearings provide an opportunity to acknowledge and validate those with lived experiences while calling for honesty, accountability, transparency and most importantly, responsive corrective strategies for reparations and restoration.
Community Truth Hearings on Poverty and Equity are a bold step in collectively and collaboratively gathering information within communities, across Canada and perhaps beyond, to influence change and public policy; to contribute to broadening the base of information upon which decisions are made; and, to look at lived experiences as the measure for a true understanding of the absolute inequity at the root cause of poverty.
In Hamilton, Ontario the Hamilton Urban Core Community Health Centre has conducted a series of local Community Truth Hearings on Poverty. In 2017, the centre produced an initial report on the hearings and has used these to inform its “No Community Stands Alone” campaign.
The Amazwi Abantu, Voices of the People initiative carries these efforts forward, engaging partners across communities and borders, to put lived experiences at the centre of a broader conversation and commitment to addressing poverty and inequity through systemic action.
The goals of Amazwi Abantu, Voices of The People are to share knowledge and information, to examine strategies that influence public policy, and to explore successful approaches in community engagement using the lens of poverty, racism and racialization as key co-determinants of health. To garner significant outcomes, tools and strategies can be used in various communities to increase civic engagement and further build local capacity.
We hope to build on the work that Hamilton Urban Core Community Health Centre has already done to date through Community Truth Hearings on Poverty and Equity, to provide a critical platform for the voices of the people with lived experience of poverty.
Every member of our community deserves access to basic needs – healthy food, safe and affordable housing and health care. In a bold and essential step, Hamilton Urban Core gathered knowledge mobilizers and leaders, as well as those with lived experience and subject matter experts from across Canada in 2019 for the Amazwi Abantu Knowledge Exchange About Resilience conference to bear witness to the impact of poverty and inequality on individuals, families, communities and neighbourhoods.
Upcoming sessions are posted on the Events Page.