Public Justice in a Pandemic
Throughout the 2020 pandemic year, the staff and Board of Citizens for Public Justice have continued to act for justice in Canadian public policy. I thank our executive director Willard Metzger and our innovative, imaginative staff for continuing their work from their homes, often with the distractions of family life.
I am fortunate to take over the position of chair of the Board from Rev. Jim Dekker, who skillfully led the Board for six years. He led CPJ through the purchase of what will become a “Justice House.” Jim also served on the Personnel Liaison Committee, Nominations Committee, and the Program Advisory Committee. He left the Board in a strong position, with skilled members from coast to coast. Thank you, Jim.
The other directors who left the Board in 2020 included Patricia Fitzmaurice from Winnipeg, who offered sound advice from her legal background. She was a member of the Financial Development Committee and previously served on the Program Advisory and Nominations Committees, as well as the Special Funding Task Force. Wayne Groot from Edmonton also completed two terms on the Board and gifted us with practical wisdom. He was a member of the Nominations Committee and Finance Committee and previously served on the Program Advisory Committee.
We also welcomed to the Board Charles Kooger, a retired pastor from Regina; Michael DeMoor, a university educator from Edmonton; and Marlene Bergsma, a print communicator from Wellandport, Ontario.
In February 2020, CPJ completed the move to the MacLaren Street house. Fortunately, the computer and telephone systems were in place before pandemic lockdown, allowing staff to successfully and safely work from their homes.
CPJ’s staff ably adjusted to campaigns online. Policy analyst Natalie Appleyard presented a virtual Chew on This! campaign in October, ending with an e-rally on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. Karri Munn-Venn collaborated with KAIROS Canada and others to present five For the Love of Creation webinars in November. A written report, Continuing Welcome: A Progress Report on a Half Welcome, was authored by Stephen Kaduuli, CPJ’s refugee rights policy analyst.
Keira Kang, our talented intern, finished her position in September. She planned and hosted the podcast The Intern Exchange and wrote a report Restoring Indigenous Rights.
The Board has been diligently engaged in developing statements affirming CPJ’s commitment to equity and justice for all marginalized people. This is of real relevance, in light of incidents of racism and the ravages of the pandemic on people living in poverty and vulnerability.
Due to the support of CPJ by the staff, Board, members, and amazingly generous donors, CPJ has thrived and showcased “Public Justice in a Pandemic.” Thanks be to God.
—Cherilyn Spraakman (Chair of the Board)