This is the sixth reflection posted in honour of CPJ’s 50th anniversary.
Six years ago when I graduated from the King’s University College in Edmonton, I thought about how I was going to practice what I had learned about integrating faith and politics outside the classroom. Soon after, I got a call from CPJ offering me their first one–year Public Policy Internship in Ottawa. At that time, CPJ had just made the move from their Toronto office to Ottawa to be closer to the political action on Parliament Hill.
With a new office and a group of passionate staff, I discovered a place where faith and politics meet in the public square. I got to see how complex social and economic issues are framed through a public justice lens that reflects God’s call for love, justice, and stewardship. I learned about the difference between justice and charity, and ways to pursue justice through public policy, advocacy, and public education.
Reflecting back on my internship experience, I had many opportunities to explore the role of government and its call to shape policies and practices that contribute to the common good. I got to work on housing and homelessness issues and advocated for adequate and affordable housing, which is integral to the social, economic, and personal well-being of individuals and families. Justice requires us to ask whether our neighbors have access to basic rights such as housing. As we respond to housing insecurity, we also recognize that poverty is a root cause of homelessness and affordable housing is part of an integrated approach to poverty reduction.
One of the highlights of my work at CPJ was developing a poverty reduction strategy campaign and traveling across cities in Canada to engage people on housing and poverty issues. Today, I am encouraged to see that CPJ continues to work faithfully with communities, organizations, and governments for a just and equitable society where all can live in dignity and have access to basic rights and resources.
Since my time at CPJ, I have further pursued my interests in public justice issues and finished a Master of Public Policy at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. Grounded with a strong public justice perspective, I hope to continue engaging people to support policies and practices that reflect God’s call to “do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with Him” (Micah 6:8).