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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 18, Number 2, October 2005

Bridging the poverty gap

by Roz Johns

September 10, 2005, was International Day of Action to Help Make Poverty History. Dressed in white, the colour of the Make Poverty History wristband, and carrying Make Poverty History banners, campaign supporters from the community and representatives from many organizations, including BCTF members and student teachers, marched from the Seaforth Peace Flame Park across the Burrard Street Bridge to the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery to symbolize Bridging the Poverty Gap. Marchers raised attention and showed their commitment to the Make Poverty History Campaign objectives: deliver more and better aid, make trade fair, cancel the debt, and end child poverty.

Saturday, September 10, marked the eve of the U.N. World Summit 2005 intended to address the Year 2000 Millennium Goals meant to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality and empower women, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases, ensure environmental sustainability, and develop a global partnership for development by the year 2015. The 190-nation signatories to the millennium goals met for the first time since the year 2000 and heard the demand from people around the world, for justice for the developing world and for the need to fulfill commitments to eradicate poverty.

Every day, 50,000 people die from poverty-related causes, more than 800 million people go to bed hungry, and one billion people live in abject poverty. Every three seconds, a child dies as a result of poverty; one in six children in Canada still lives in poverty. Make Poverty History is part of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty, the world’s largest antipoverty coalition, made up of national campaigns in 70 countries.

The seven members of the Capilano College Global Stewardship Program are to be congratulated for orchestrating the march, providing motivating and informative speeches and live music from several local bands, and energizing participants to continue to pressure governments to meet the Millennium 2000 goals to Make Poverty History.

Sadly, the commitments made at the Summit 2005 do not go far enough to achieve the Millennium Goals by 2015. Your voice is needed! The British Columbia Teachers’ Federation signed on to the Make Poverty History campaign. Your signature strengthens the call to world leaders for the urgently required accomplishment of that goal. makepovertyhistory.ca

The BCTF Social Justice Action Group Antipoverty provides workshops, information, web sites, and teacher and classroom resources. bctf.ca/social/poverty

Roz Johns teaches at R.M. Grauer Elementary School, in Richmond, and is a member of the SJAC/Antipoverty Action Group.

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