The beats were spinning, the sun was shining, the crowd was cheering. And people were making a stand for what is right.
Homeless Awareness Day is dedicated to promoting greater knowledge and understanding of issues relating homelessness and the steps being taken to end it in Calgary. This year it featured two speakers who have lived experience of homelessness and who are active members of the Calgary Homeless Foundation’s (CHF’s) Client Action Committee (CAC). This group has planned events such as the Homeless Charter of Rights Launch, been integral in the development of the award winning Do You See Me? Documentary and is currently planning Calgary’s first ever memorial for those who have died while living on the streets.
Hilary Chapple was one of those speakers. Dressed professionally to show that the stigma of homelessness is just that, a stigma, Hilary blew the crowd away with her impassioned speech about the actions each of us can take to end homelessness in our city. Her rallying cry was one of community and together-only as a committed whole can we truly affect change.
“I love doing this work and will do it for as long as I can. I am a very passionate woman and wanted to… show that energy to the crowd. Yes, being homeless sucks, but with all the supports at my shelter, there was a huge opportunity to grow, empower myself, love myself and then love others.”
Agencies and the community came together to show their support of those in homelessness and to make a stand for affordable housing and Housing First in our city. Soft Cure, a young band out of Calgary, finished off the entertainment for the lunch hour. The lead vocalist of the band closed out by expressing his thanks for being involved “in something as impactful and important as this.”
To all of you who came out and showed your support, we thank you. We thank you for your desire to stand up, be counted and make a difference. We thank you for your willingness to stop and listen, we thank you in advance for what you’ve been inspired to now go out and do. And thank you Randy and Hillary for being brave enough and strong enough to lend your voices and your story.
Together, we ARE the difference.