While official numbers on poverty in 2020 will not be available until 2022, it is not difficult to imagine the economic impact COVID-19 has created for many Canadians, and disproportionally more problems for those with much less. Many found themselves with fewer work opportunities or were simply laid off. This resulted in the rise of unmet health needs, food insecurity, and unmet housing needs to name a few. Additionally, students of such families faced the academic disadvantages of school closures, as well as the increased stress and strain of self-isolation and social distancing.
These adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are potentially stressful, traumatic events that can have negative, lasting effects on health and general well-being. Studies have shown that the more adversities someone experiences, the higher the likelihood they will have serious mental and physical health problems later in life. While poverty is not a category on the ACE questionnaire, it is easy to see how poverty (with the effects of COVID-19 acting as a multiplier) could accelerate the risk and push towards the nine adverse experiences listed.
According to the World Bank, the pandemic could push as many as 115 million people into poverty worldwide. In his address in April of this year, UN Secretary-General António Guterres stated that “the world cannot afford a lost generation of youth, their lives set back by COVID-19 and their voices stifled by a lack of participation.” The risk of inaction is simply too great.
The BCTF has named November Antipoverty Month. As teachers, we know firsthand the effects of poverty on our students. Please take the time to look through this month’s Seeds of Social Justice and use the resources, book the workshops, apply for grants, and continue to be part of the solution.
The Committee for Action on Social Justice’s Economic Justice Action Group has created a set of resources for Antipoverty Month which are posted on the BCTF website. See below for details. This edition of Seeds of Social Justice also links you to our many in-house resources, which help us work towards systemic change, as well as to our alliance partners who work hard every day to do the same.
5–11: Veteran’s Week
11: Remembrance Day
17–23: BC Multiculturalism Week
20: National Child Day
20: Transgender Day of Remembrance
25: International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women—16 days of action begins
27: Buy Nothing Day
Monday, 26 October 2020
Posted by Peace River North Teachers' Association at 16:10