Community Matters: June 2022
Note: This is excerpted from the July 2022 edition of our Community Matters publication.
Welcome to the second issue of our new quarterly publication, Community Matters.
As with our inaugural issue in March 2022, Community Matters aims to inform the community about social issues that impact citizens and connect the dots between social issues, evidence, and policy. We aim to use this space to give a voice to local agencies, ESPC volunteer writers, and staff members alike.
Each edition will spotlight a specific social issue and demonstrate the intersectional nature and impact on equality. Our goal is to use evidence as we continue to inform on the issues affecting individuals and families.
While our first issue focused on gender (in)equity, this issue will focus on community safety.
Community safety has many components and facets. Safety can be defined and experienced differently by each community and each person’s unique lived experience. Many think community safety means responding to crimes and social disorders through policing and the criminal justice system, the dialogue needs to be even more broadly focused on preventative measures and promoting social cohesion.
When discussing community safety, we need to frame the conversation around promoting a community that is inclusive to everyone, especially those who are marginalized. If we center the conversation exclusively to the concerns of dominant or privileged groups, we run the risk of further endangering or marginalizing those who have already been struggling.
Crime in Chinatown, safety concerns at Edmonton transit facilities, hate-motivated crimes against Black and Muslim women, and the alarming rates of lives lost due to drug overdoses and poisoning are in part tied to the still unresolved social problems such as affordable housing challenges and the rise of homelessness, the closure of safe consumption sites, untreated mental health and trauma, food insecurity, income inequality, systemic racism, gender inequity, and more. A failure to meaningfully address these issues will only exacerbate wider community safety concerns and the incidences of crime.
A community that addresses everyone’s basic needs and supports, will reduce the number of incidences where police response is necessary. Community safety can be fostered and supported through relationships and connectivity.
With this issue of Community Matters, we hope to play a part in shifting this mindset and amplifying the voices of those who felt very much unsafe, excluded or isolated in their own communities for quite some time. This edition includes topics surrounding areas of School Resources Officers, Universal Basic Income, Edmonton Indigenous Court, and Food Insecurity; we have input from organizations and agencies like Bear Clan, Community Outreach Transit Team, Neighbourhood Empowerment Team, Boyle MacCauley Health Centre and The Pride Centre. We invite readers to delve deeper into these topics.
We hope this endeavour broadens the conversation and helps spark positive social change amid a truly challenging period for our city.
– Susan Morrissey, Executive Director