October marks multiple significant international days: International Day of Older Persons
(Oct 1), International Day of Non-Violence
(Oct 2), World Mental Health Day
(October 10), World Homeless Day
(October 10), International Day of the Girl Child
(October 11) and World Food Day
(October 16), to name a few.
The goals for ‘international days’ are to spread awareness on a global platform, stimulate collaborative and innovative solutions for change and honour those impacted by the social causes.
Today’s world events serve as a reminder for why these days are needed now more than ever. Currently, we are facing a growing Global Refugee Crisis
spreading from the Balkans, Middle East, South East Asia, Mediterranean Sea and Eastern Europe. The UN estimates that more people have been displaced currently than at any time since World War II.
Issues of violence, food insecurity, homelessness and poverty, mental health and unequal gender dynamics are especially heightened for those trying to escape conflict.
While thinking about the global state of the world, we often forget how the local level is connected to it.
How do these global issues - layered with multiple intersecting international factors: migration/immigration and closed borders, capitalist/neoliberal economies, precarious employment and increasing income divides, conflict/neo-colonialism/genocide/civil war and unrest, lack of natural resources and infrastructures, unequal treatment of identities - manifest in Peel Region?
Consider a ‘middle-class’ family where the parents have lost their jobs due to larger global market crises and are now constantly picking between keeping their home and buying groceries while attempting to re-enter the job market; a new immigrant couple trying to establish themselves in Peel after escaping conflict but because of systemic barriers are unable to gain employment in their field; a youth experiencing mental health issues trying to locate a safe place to stay when home is not an option because mental health is associated with stigma and shame.
These examples illustrate the way in which global factors impact how social issues converge and manifest differently in various communities. As a result, our response from the non-profit, social service and public sector must be nuanced, complex, constantly evolving with the needs of communities and constructed consciously in the context of these large global factors.
The global is necessarily connected to the local. Our influence and impact as individuals, organizations/institutions and communities extends beyond our local reach. They fit into larger provincial conversations, national platforms and international policies. While diversity, equity and inclusion work can trickle down, it also has the ability to radiate outwards in waves. For example, in November 2014 individuals, organizations and communities mobilized against sexual violence and harassment, in light of a local incident,. This in turn accelerated the release of the province's It's Never Okay An Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment
For this reason, the RDR encourages reflection on the way in which the state of the world is connected to your organizations’ policies, programs and the communities they are serving/employing. Take a moment to check out some projects we have highlighted below that are making a global impact.
-The Regional Diversity Roundtable
Partners for Prevention: UNDP, UNFPA, UN Women & UNV regional joint programme for the prevention of violence against women and girls in Asia and the Pacific
Idle No More: International Indigenous mass movement
Feed the Future: The U.S. Government's Global Hunger and Food Security Initative