It is the first day of my second week of officially joining SI Canada! I am exhilarated by the work, and humbled by its urgency and complexity. I have jumped on a moving train that is barrelling towards 2021. That train is fuelled by the determination and commitment of a talented team delivering programs and events across the country.
I have been touched by the warm welcome and outpouring of support from the growing network of individuals and organization that are contributing to making things better, not just for themselves, but for their communities and the planet.
This goodwill can be seen in all sectors of civil society, governments, businesses, and nonprofits. COVID-19 created a moment of universal vulnerability, in its wake lie sentiments of unity and progress.
Yet as our governments pledge support for the most vulnerable, the numbers of Canadians who are experiencing suffering and hardship increases. As our local businesses and entrepreneurs struggle for solvency, the stock-market has created trillions of dollars in new wealth. As the National Housing strategy commits billions of dollars to ensuring “everyone has a home they can afford that meets their needs” our parks fill with encampments and home prices continue to rise.
Wealth for many, suffering for more.
We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future.
– Marshal McLuhan
How can we embed principles of equity and practices of empathy into our ways of being as individuals, as organizations and as a society? As we move into recovery, the work of this network is more crucial than ever.
As our conversations move from the disease to the vaccine, and we look to put 2020 behind us, words like austerity are beginning to creep back into the conversations. But we cannot lose ground, we must go forward. This will take effort and intention to not slip back to the old ways. Marshal McLuhan observed that when people are faced with a totally new situation, “We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future”.
Social innovation practices will allow us to march with our eyes forward into the future with a more equitable, regenerative and prosperous society society on the horizon.
One thing this year has taught me is that grief and joy are not mutually exclusive. You cannot avoid pain, but you can pursue happiness and peace. As we all break for the Holidays, I hope that each of you can find moments of joy and peace. I look forward to working with you all in 2021!
– Andrea Nemtin,
Executive Director, SI Canada