It’s not about charity, it’s about justice

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We need to change the conversation about the haves and the have-nots
By Deirdre Pike
“When anyone is hungry while others have too much to eat, when anyone has no shelter while others live in luxury, or when anyone lives in poverty while others enjoy affluence, justice is not present. Where justice is not present, the quality of all our lives and communities disappears.”

•Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition, (ISARC)

Based on this statement of truth from ISARC, the quality of all our lives and communities in Hamilton is disappearing. We have a community where almost 90,000 people, including 28,000 children, live in poverty. You could fill Copps Coliseum five times with our sisters and brothers living below the low income cut-off (LICO) and all of the kids in poverty would barely have fit into the old Ivor Wynne Stadium.

At the other end of the economic scale, according to the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton, almost 54,000 people, the top 10 per cent, earn an average of $144,000 a year, a 27 per cent increase over the last 20 years. The top 1 per cent, just over 5,000 folks, is making an average of $406,000, up 47 per cent since 1982. And for the 0.1 per cent on the highest rung, 540 people, their average income is just under $1.3 million.

And somewhere in the middle of those two extremes is the ever-shrinking middle class. The majority of us belong to the 90 per cent category (including people in poverty) with average earnings of just over $31,000 and the most minimal increase in the last 20 years — just 2 per cent.

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Article source: The Hamilton Spectator

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