While out on assignment the day before the provincial budget was presented a couple of weeks ago, I came across a familiar face. It was one of two protests that were taking place that afternoon on the front steps of the Manitoba Legislative Building. Anti-poverty demonstrators had gathered to give speeches and wave signs. When you go to the number of events we do as photojournalists you tend to see some of the same people fairly frequently. This guy always catches my eye; I always want to take his photo. This time I took the time to try to get to know him a little more.
I asked Isaac Dyck what he did for a living and what brought him to the demonstration that particular day.
"I'm a retired school teacher. I taught in the North End of Winnipeg for many years. So, I have a passion for people who are underprivileged, who experience oppression. Today we are reminded that there's a significant amount of poverty in our communities, in our community of Winnipeg in particular. We see this around us and we are reminded by the speakers and by the highlighting of this issue today that this needs to be addressed in a concrete way.
Have you ever experienced extreme poverty?
"I grew up in a poor household with eight kids and a limited income. I remember the Christmas Cheer Board dropping off a box of food and putting it in the middle of the floor and how excited we were there were toys in there. That was where my life began and I'm very fortunate that I'm a privileged white individual in this society because many people don't have that good fortune. So I was able to succeed and move out of that position."
If you could give some advice to a community of people, what would it be?
"It's time for our government representatives to recognize that the time for words has passed. The time for the nodding of the head has passed. That it's time for direct action to address the concerns around poverty."