The Parallel Parliament

Glen Pearson

Posts tagged “social justice

Bringing It Home

Posted on April 20, 2018

Last week I attended an annual outdoor lunch that raises awareness over the state of homelessness in our city.  It’s a powerful mix of housing advocates, policy makers, media and most important of all, homeless individuals seeking a better world. On the same day The Guardian published what turned out to be a timely piece titled, “Finland has found the answer to homelessness.  It couldn’t be simpler.”  It was the kind of headline meant to quickly draw the reader into its rationale that defeating homelessness isn’t perhaps as complex as we thought. But first the bad news.  The article reminded its British readers that, whether they liked it or not, they were tolerating a homelessness situation that was becoming a national embarrassment: The number…

A Different Path

Posted on March 18, 2018

Fifty years ago  this past week (March 16, 1968), Robert Kennedy announced he would be running for president in the same Senate Caucus Room his brother had made his announcement eight years earlier.  We all know how it ended, but few recognized the personal transformation he went through during that brief campaign. Ironically, RFK chose an opposite path to most of today’s politicians, opting to migrate from a place of attack and negativity to one of hope, social justice and a sense of ethical responsibility.  True, he had frequently been somewhat moralistic earlier in his career, but it always seemed to propel him into attack mode, especially against corruption and greed.  He became his JFK’s watchdog as his attorney general in his relentless pursuit…

Homes Without People

Posted on February 16, 2018

It’s a phenomenon few saw coming, but it’s beginning to turn our perspectives on modern cities on its head.  The point of the spear seems to have begun in New York City – Manhattan specifically.  The number of apartments in that region occupied by absentee owners and renters grew from 19,000 in 2000 to 34,000 by 2011 and has likely mushroomed since.  That’s a jump of 70% in just a decade.  One three-block stretch of the Upper East Side has a 57% vacancy rate for 10 months each year. It’s not just developers and owners excessively purchasing properties and holding on to them as they hold out for higher sales (we have lots of them in Canadian cities).  According to Richard Florida in his…

Fire in the Eyes

Posted on December 19, 2017

The old scriptures tell of how Moses, over 100 years of age at the time of his death, stood on a mountain overlooking the Promised Land and “his eyes were not weak.” Yet, despite that great advantage, the legendary Jewish leader passed on, never able to enjoy what he had seen and dreamed of for most of his life. I thought of that story again a couple of days ago when I learned that Gina Barber, politician, activist and author, passed away of cancer. The outpouring of collective grief and thankfulness for her influence was remarkable in its own way, with many chronicling personal stories of her effect on their lives. I have one of my own, and it’s as recent as two weeks…

Anatomy of Hatred

Posted on September 1, 2017

Hatred. Neo-Nazis. White Supremacists. Racism. KKK. These terms, and many like them, we had hoped were slowly disappearing from our public life and lexicon, yet they are everywhere in these troubled days. For those individuals and groups who have felt the sheer injustice of such things, however, they have been an ever-present reality. With the events of Charlottesville, we are struggling to grasp the implications of what happens when those most troubling facets of hatred emerge again to prove we never did deal with them effectively. Rallies are being held across the United States and Canada, including London, this weekend that pit the best and worst of human nature against one another. The troubles of recent days have caused me to reflect on the…

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