A simple smile can fight loneliness

Anyone who has ever felt a tinge of loneliness (which is most of us), knows it is not a nice feeling. It is a danger that many face, in particular as we become elderly and have less family around. Below is a segment from a radio show in Newfoundland, in which a lady describes how she practices going out of her way to connect and smile with folks, especially the elderly. It can help people and feels good to do. I believe in Canada, we are generally pretty good at being polite and engaging, and looking after each other, but this is a nice reminder that we can be compassionate and make someone feel better, and feel better ourselves, wth the simple act of a smile.

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My new year’s wish: unconditional love

Happy New Year! Another year has passed and we all have great hopes for the future. There is no point in having regrets; they are like pulling your hand out of the passing river; the ripples have had their affect and we have all moved on. The water is constantly flowing and so are we in the river of life. What we can control is the compassion we show towards others; it will make others happy and us as well. May you all experience and give unconditional love in the coming year; we all have value and our own path in life, and each fulfil our destiny in a unique way; may you have a fulfilling and joy-filled destiny, and ignore the things that detract from it.

The people are the police: Building trust with Aboriginal communities in contemporary Canadian society Robert Chrismas

Canadian Public Administration vol. 55, no. 3 (September) p. 451–70.

Full article is here: 2012 Canadian Public Administration, The people are the police

Abstract:

Policing is an important element in the spectrum of services that impact living conditions, quality of life and social justice for Aboriginal communities. The ultimate policing goal should be to contribute to the realization of societies with safe living conditions and equal access to opportunities, health and happiness. In Canada, Aboriginal peoples were marginalized by colonization, becoming victims of social injustice whose significant effects on communities are felt to this day. This article explores how trust can be regained through improved communication, community engagement and empowerment. Trust building is critical for police and communities to move forward together. Truth telling, transparency and restorative justice may allow police agencies to align with the values of Aboriginal communities, support citizen empowerment, and better carry out the public will.

It’s 4AM and -44C with windchill; here are three men huddled in the bus shack by City Hall

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With the windchill, it’s -44C (-47F) and this is the scene outside City Hall at 4AM this morning, the day before New Year’s eve. Three men huddled in a bus shack, because it is enclosed and blocks the wind. With shaking hands, one doesn’t even have gloves, they eagerly reach out as Barb and Chelsea offer them a hot bowl of soup and a coffee. Surprisingly, they are joking around, “hey could I get a foot massage, naaa” says one young man with big a smirk on his face. A sense of humour is probably the best defence against the unforgiving elements. It’s day 33 of our 4AM coffee run and it might be time to reassess, as the last couple of days we only found a few people downtown. There are still lots of people running around, but most of the regulars are missing and even the changing face of homelessness has diminished substantially. Speculating that increased holiday spirit in combination with the dangerously cold temperatures has resulted in more people either taking folks in or even the die-hard street folks seeking refuge. Winnipeg’s shelters, and the wonderful people who work at them have also taken up the slack, seemingly taking more folks in. Winnipeg’s culture of compassion and care is tangible in these conditions; humanity matters.

Winnipeg’s compassionate past still needed today

2014-10-04 Winnipeg’s compassionate past still needed today – Winnipeg Free Press

Winnipeg Free Press – PRINT EDITION Posted: 10/4/2014

Some characterize the police as an oppressive arm of government, yet they are among the first ones called in almost any kind of crisis. While social justice is not their primary mandate, police officers are the ones who, day in and day out, help homeless people get in from the cold, protect people suffering debilitating substance-abuse or mental-health issues and advocate for them.

In the vast majority of cases, police officers try to do their best for people in need. This phenomenon is not unique to Winnipeg, but our history has a particular social-justice character. We are a compassionate city, perhaps because of our diversity and the deep social issues we have struggled with.

People come to Winnipeg from around the world, often from conflict zones fleeing political violence, economic hardship and oppression. We have one of the largest urban aboriginal communities in North America and one of the largest French-speaking populations outside of Quebec. We earned an international reputation as a bastion of labour rights with the 1919 General Strike. Following the Second World War, Winnipeg’s standing as a centre for human rights grew as women of all classes and ethnic backgrounds protested against rising milk and food prices. We tolerate a harsh winter climate that draws us together and nourishes our rich contributions of art, music and literature.

Winnipeg is an international centre of learning about human rights and justice. The Arthur V. Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice at the University of Manitoba trains master’s and doctoral students from over 30 countries for peace-building around the globe, and the University of Manitoba has several faculties, such as the Centre for Applied Ethics, focusing on human rights. Menno Simons College, Canadian Mennonite University and the Global College at the University of Winnipeg also train students for international peace-building.

It is no accident the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, the first national museum established outside the Ottawa capital region, was opened in Winnipeg to serve as a beacon for human rights and social justice.

This intellectual underpinning is part of our compassionate culture. However, it is the people at street level who actually look out for vulnerable peoples’ basic human rights. It is the people who do the right thing for fellow human beings when nobody is looking that are our real protectors of human dignity. It is the business person who volunteers at a soup line and the child who stands up for a bullied peer at school. Each of us plays a part in our own unique ways, but we are all a part of our community.

The thing we know for sure is working together we are all stronger. As long as we continue to have problems in our community, we all must ask ourselves what we have done today to help make the situation better. “A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle.” (Khalil Gibran). We all know ways we can contribute, but until we act, we know we haven’t unleashed our full potential.

Staff Sgt. Bob Chrismas is in his 25th year with the Winnipeg Police Service.

An Arranged Marriage: Police – Media Conflict & Collaboration

CHRISMAS, Robert. An Arranged Marriage: Police – Media Conflict & Collaboration. Canadian Graduate Journal of Sociology and Criminology, [S.l.], v. 1, n. 1, p. 43-55, sep. 2012. ISSN 1927-9825

View the full article here

Abstract:
Media and police professionals are bound together in interdependent, and often tense, working relationships. For different purposes both professions need to work effectively together while simultaneously retaining independence from each other. These complex inter-reliant relationships create unique challenges that often call for improvement. This essay examines whether relationships between interdependent professional organizations can be improved through a collaborative problem-solving intervention, based on the interactive methods of facilitated dialogue and appreciative inquiry. The article describes a case study of a large Canadian police agency working with local media outlets to improve their working relationship. It highlights the importance of conflict analysis followed by effective change management strategies in implementation of collaborative solutions that meet everyone’s needs. This case study illustrates dynamics that generalize to organizations that have strong organizational cultures and are highly independent and simultaneously required to work together. Some examples of such organizations are military, prison guards, scholars, medical professionals, social workers, teachers, lawyers and most government agencies.

People are still out all night; how do they do it?

In one of the coldest winters on record, there are still people out all night, sometimes  with no gloves and wearing only runners. We (my family and I) have found people out, huddled in bus shacks every night over the past month, despite the great efforts by wonderful organizations like Siloam Mission, Salvation Army, the Main Street Project and others. We found the numbers of people out there over the last few nights, over Christmas and as the temperatures got more extreme, dropped a bit, BUT, we still found 6 to 10 or more each night who were out at 4AM and not in a shelter. They all have a different story, but no-one should be out in this cold.

Here is the CBC story

 

“Rising up” conference, University of Manitoba. 9-10 March 2018

Twenty panels and eighty-four presenters from twenty-nine institutions from all over the world!

 Screening of More than a Word at 7 pm in partnership with Decolonizing lens.

Complimentary  dinner March 10th at 5:45 pm at the Hub Social Club

Link to Conference webpage

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Rising Up: A Graduate Students Conference on Indigenous Knowledge and Research Friday and Saturday, March 9th and 10th, 2018 Fort Garry Campus, University of Manitoba

Rising Up is an academic gathering giving graduate students the spotlight to present their work while connecting with other researchers. The conference is interdisciplinary, and attracts students and researchers who are working on a wide range of topics in the Indigenous/Native Studies field.

This is a free event, open to all.

 

Perceptions on confronting sexual exploitation in Canada: Introducing new primary research

The Journal of Community Safety and Well-Being

Click here to view the full article

Abstract

This paper provides a preview into new primary research into sexual exploitation and human sex trafficking in Canada. The project, for which interviewing is complete and analysis is now underway, is qualitative research taking a grounded, open-minded approach with an underlying hypothesis that better outcomes may be gleaned from systems of service providers and stakeholders through improved coordination and collaboration. Previous research on related topics has often overlooked key stakeholders including police, prosecutors, political, First Nations and other community leaders. This research casts a wider net, incorporating the voices of over 65 experts across Manitoba, including: experiential survivors of sexual exploitation and sex trafficking, police, social workers, Aboriginal leaders, and people working in numerous non-government organizations who work to prevent sexual exploitation and assist victims to escape the sex industry. The research was focused in Manitoba where women and children continue to be victimized in the sex industry despite having one of the most comprehensive and well-funded counter sexual exploitation strategies of any province in Canada. The questions asked of subjects were designed to highlight barriers and opportunities for improved collaboration, interdiction and response to prevent people from being exploited in the sex industry and help others to escape it. While the data is in the early stages of analysis, some strong themes are already apparent to the researcher. These themes suggest that there may be a significant correlation between vulnerability to sexual exploitation and poverty, lack of opportunities, familial environment and relationships, and resilience. Generally, people from all perspectives seem to be stressing that there needs to be better coordination of resources, and more education and awareness across society on this issue.