Humanitarian and harmonica virtuoso, Mike Stevens, will bring his passion to the stage of IMAGINATE 2017. Mike's talent is as unorthodox as his career trajectory. He has logged more than 300 appearances on the world famous Grand Ole Opry stage and is a true pioneer of bluegrass harmonica; creating a much copied style of playing. For more than 35 years Mike has been doing solo live looping harmonica and voice exploration, collaborating in unexpected ways, and continuing to push musical boundaries.
Mike first became aware of the challenges and struggles of Indigenous youth in remote communities when he met Innu youth in Sheshatshiu, Labrador in 2000. Since that time he's been collecting musical instruments to take to remote communities, and teaching kids how to play. In 2002, ArtsCan Circle was founded to expand upon Mike's work, and start sending teams of musicians and artists to Indigenous communities, providing opportunities for youth to learn new skills and explore creative expression.
In the past year, Mike was presented with the Governor General's Meritorious Service Medal, and the Slaight Music Humanitarian Award for his work through ArtsCan Circle.
We are honoured to host Mike Stevns at this year's
IMAGINATE: We All Have a Story on April 13 at Port Hope's Capitol Theatre.
Green Wood Art Hive has launched as a series of weekly sessions that provide
free, safe and inclusive space in which to be creative.
All are welcome. We'll put on the tea.
An Art Hive:
-welcomes everyone as an artist and believes art making is a human behavior
-celebrates the strengths and creative capacities of individuals and communities
-fosters self-directed experiences of creativity, learning, and skill sharing.
-encourages emerging grass roots leaders of all ages
-provides free access as promoted by gift economy
-shares resources including the abundant materials available for creative reuse
-gardens wherever possible to renew, regenerate,
and spread seeds of social change
Keep up to date at our Facebook page.
Learn about Art Hives here.
We are thrilled to announce that Christa Couture, who describes herself as a "singer, songwriter, storyteller, cyborg, half-breed (and then some)" will be a presenter at this year's IMAGINATE; We All Have a Story, on April 13 at Port Hope's Capitol Theatre.
Christa has built a reputation for transforming tragedy into musical triumph, capturing tiny snapshots of grief and elevating each to a unique work of art. She was a recent guest on CBC Radio's Unreserved with Rosanna Deerchild and their conversation serves as a nice introduction to her life and work. Click here to listen.
Coldest Night of the Year 2017 was an amazing show of support for those who are struggling in our community, with over 200 walkers braving the elements. Okay, let's be honest, it was a balmy night in Port Hope, so we resorted to calling it the Coldest Night of the Week. The brave ones were the 64 walkers who headed into the night in Yellowknife, where temperatures hit -24!
Thanks to everyone who played a part in Port Hope exceeding our goal--and pushing the national campaign over its goal of $4 million, in support of those who are homeless, hungry and hurting. Be sure to mark February 24 for next year's Coldest Night.
Special thanks go out to local restaurants who provided the chili-fest that ended the night,
as well as other business sponsors:
Basil's Market & Deli
The Mill Restaurant & Pub
Tim Horton's Port Hope
Davis Independant Grocer
Lauria Auto Group
Thanks to Walton Street Photography for these great photos!
Another beautiful film by Rob Quartly. Listen to these brave stories from real people who have found themselves in tough financial situations and listen to the wisdom they have to share.
GREEN WOOD COALITION
STATEMENT ON BASIC INCOME GUARANTEE
It is the position of Green Wood Coalition that eliminating poverty is an urgent health, human rights and social justice issue that requires action on the part of the municipal, provincial and federal governments.
As a street-level, charitable organization that uses a community model of caring to walk alongside people living with poverty, mental illness, addiction and other disability, in Port Hope, Green Wood Coalition has observed, first hand, the detrimental effects of poverty on individuals and families.
We are asking for the immediate implementation of a Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) to provide a minimum annual income at a level that is sufficient to meet basic needs and allows individuals and families to live with dignity, regardless of work status.
BIG is currently the subject of a province-wide consultation process--the reality is that a great deal of discussion and consultation on poverty reduction in recent years has resulted in very little action. We fear that further consultation could be viewed as a diversionary tactic to avoid tackling poverty.
Basic income guarantee, which is an unconditional cash transfer from the government to citizens to provide a minimum annual income and is not tied to labour market participation, is an essential component of a strategy to effectively eliminate poverty, ensure all Canadians have a sufficient income to meet their basic needs, and live with dignity and to eliminate health inequities.
We are in support of the Emergency Resolution recently endorsed by ACORN, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, YWCA Toronto, PFIB and others, that states:
“Whereas Senator Hugh Segal said: “It is hard to conclude that the income support that is now available for those living in poverty is adequate in any meaningful way”; Be it resolved that the Government of Ontario immediately raise the Ontario Works rate for a single individual to $1,320 per month and raise ODSP rates by at least $500 per month.”
Currently in Canada, Old Age Security (OAS) and Guaranteed Income Supplements (GIS) are forms of guaranteed income supplement programs, which are income tested cash transfers for seniors at age 65 and older. Since their implementation, the incidence of poverty in seniors dropped substantially from 21.4% in 1980 to 5.2% in 2011.
Given the magnitude of the social and economic costs of poverty and the resources being spent on countering the negative effects of poverty, it is more prudent to spend those resources on prevention. Following the existing, proven model of OAS and GIS is a way forward to implementation of a BIG for those under 65. Further consultation on models is unnecessary.
“After decades of intensifying austerity and eroding income supports, social assistance in Ontario is now so wretchedly inadequate that people are unable to feed themselves properly, retain their housing or maintain their health. Total benefit income for those who depend on Ontario Works and the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) locks nearly 895,000 Ontarians into deep poverty.” –Put Food in the Budget Campaign (PFIB), December 2016
Green Wood Coalition urges our Municipal, Provincial and Federal government representatives and leaders to act immediately to implement a basic income guarantee and address the human rights and social justice violations caused by negligence of poverty issues in our country.
We welcome Renee MacDonald as our guest blogger, today, with a piece that she calls "Stew". Renee is a lifelong Port Hoper who has offered her keen thoughts and compassionate actions in many ways that make this a better community. She can often be found, sharing a meal and a conversation with someone, at our weekly Green Wood Community Dinner.
My great grandmother, Edith, understood stew.
She knew that savoury aromas filling the air with assurances staved off hunger, and made us feel safe.The promise of a meal to come. Nothing was thrown away, everything had value.
Just as resources had value, people had value. She knew, and taught me, that people needed other people; that our life was made richer by caring for others. The melding of the many made community. Like a stew.
Her legendary stews made use of all those potentially discarded things, hiding in dark cupboard corners and cabinets. Vegetables, wilting and listless, forgotten at the back of the refrigerator found renewed purpose. Ashamed to appear alone but finding courage in numbers; stronger for their blending.
“Make it do or do without”. I watched her aged hands
gather and rescue, transforming and chopping,
a woman's alchemy.
Stew became a metaphor; a philosophy of transformation and enough--not just enough but so much that we can stretch to sharing. A shuffling down to make room for one more, a chair scraping up to the table. No problem, just add a few extra things to the pot.
The rail riding "hobos" stopped off in Port Hope during the last Depression and shared in my great grandmothers stew. Ladled from her porch, a seemingly bottomless feast; the loaves and fishes retold. No work required from these men, “just eat”, love unconditional.
I have read that these "hobos" would leave a sign
for those who would follow,
letting them know if a household was kind.
Surely there was a mark on my great grandmother's gate, identifying her open hands and even more open heart. I think of this often as I brace for the second great depression, changes in climate, the peaking of natural resources. Now more than ever, the world needs kindness and bottomless stew pots.
For some people, stew has no place in their world. Stew is a shameful relic like hand-me-down clothes, Saturday baths and mending baskets. It's what you eat if you can't afford something better. They are confident that we left all of this behind in the rear view mirror as we drive head long into our new era of economic prosperity.
I am not so sure of this confidence as I watch the lengthening line up in the church hall, the shuffling of feet growing louder each Wednesday evening. Plates extended for stew and rolls, hearts worn bare by life.
Many of my friends at the Green Wood Coalition
are the first to be hit by the growth economy
that can no longer grow.
We reside in the layer where trickle down economic theory no longer reaches. Each week artists, musicians, activists and other caring people find their way to the table, aching for justice and still hoping for happy endings. We stand together on a ledge that is narrowing, and sense this uneasily.
Tonight someone is here to help, next time it is they who seek solace.But there is strength in our numbers and the most hardened among us teach resilience. Sometimes we feed and sometimes we are fed. Each of us bring our own small contribution to the mix, to this stew, this new world we are gently creating.
Stir, stir, a pinch of this and a dash of that. We try new ingredients that are unfamiliar, that we have not come across before. Sometimes blushing at a blunt comment or off colour joke, “too salty”, throwing off our tentative balance. Forgiving just the same.
My great grandmother would be proud.
Are you feeling like you want to make a difference in your own neighbourhood?
Concerned about people who are lonely and isolated in your community? Bothered by the social injustices that leave a person hungry and homeless while living in one of wealthiest parts of the world at one of the wealthiest times in history?
Green Wood Coalition would welcome you to join a movement for change.
This movement is calling us to reach out to those, near us, who are struggling with the effects of poverty and trauma--recognizing our common humanity.
This movement is calling us to seek justice for those who are marginalized in our own community--like the 59 individuals and 18 families who were identified as being homeless in Northumberland County last month.
This movement is calling us to action for change, beginning with our own attitudes and activities--and then, tackling the structures around us that are trapping hundreds of people in our community in cycles of poverty and isolation.
This is a perfect time to reflect and consider your place in a movment to make this a community where no one is left homeless, left hungy-where no one is left behind.
If you want to join the movement, contact us or one of the other good community organizations that are working for the same kind of change.