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Renewing Democracy through Social Justice: Adding New Voices

Eleanor McCloskey, CND

August 19-21 Charlottetown, PE: I attended this conference that offered sections on Gender, Diversity and Community Leadership and Democracy and Social Justice. It was inspirational to hear from dedicated people, especially young people, their ideas and their hope – and to learn of the projects currently established - for better ways. Men and women from professional service occupations, and volunteers, are seeking ways to bring about justice, fairness, equity (not the same as equality); to teach people about institutional power, collective power and social power and how to use these; and to develop more bridge-building and open communication in our efforts to bring about change in the world. It was not “sage on the stage” but curriculum –based learning led by facilitators and inviting our input. There were “showcase” times when participants gave brief descriptions and demonstrations of the good works happening in various cities and sites throughout the Atlantic Provinces. Everyone went home with a Learnings Journal containing a Personal Leadership Action Plan centered on a few short questions including:

(1) What is your leadership passion? and (2) What issue(s) will you address?

A young man, a gifted graphic artist, recorded the “Minutes” of the sessions using colored markers and drawings on huge sheets, posted for all to view.

I met respectful, smart, informed, involved pro-active young people (and some not-so-young) who are not content to keep doing things (including politics) the same old ways.


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