Sleepless In Our Cities – Jerome Adamo OpEd

February 26, 2023

This article was submitted to Oakville News by Jerome Adamo, Vice-President of the Oakville & District Labour Council. To view the article visit:

“As I reflect on the -17 degree night I spent sleeping in my car supporting the United Way, I ponder how artificial it was for me yet reality for so many others.

I watch my windows start to frost over, excessively yawning yet sleepless thinking about the realities of poverty, food scarcity and homelessness. Please don’t be misled thinking it doesn’t exist in Halton, a place of affluence.

According to statistics, last year a record 592,308 people accessed Ontario’s food banks with 3,683,305 visits. I’m troubled to think this is certain to increase while inflation rises and wages remain stagnant. The concept of the “working poor”, all too real.

After an hour I begin to slumber. It’s cold but not as cold as the new threats that will certainly give rise to the cost of living. Privatisation of our healthcare, our hospitals and even our education system. Governments hell bent on undermining the legislated protections we have come to depend on.

I fall half asleep dreaming of a world of change, only to wake up a few hours later reminded of the reality of our society. A semi complacent society which, out of hopelessness, doesn’t seem outraged that corporate bosses surpass the average Canadian’s yearly income in the first 6 days of the year while everything else is gravy. It’s 2:37 a.m. I ask myself “Where is the equity?” Legislated poverty makes me scream “something has to give!!”

It’s why other change makers like myself participate in the United Way sleepless in our cities event while others choose to walk in the coldest night of the year. It begins to snow and the window frost slowly becomes a shell of accumulated whiteness.

I continue to think about my time at a rally this week saying “enough is enough”.
Connect those dots yourself and you’ll see how intertwined government policy is in our lives, our families and our children. A blanket of whiteness over our hope for the future. A crust of icy cold government policy putting corporate greed ahead of human need.

For lack of better words. I wake up and it’s Saturday morning. My car is encased in ice and my body shows signs of a sleepless and restless night but my experience has taught me one thing. I know I’m not the only one out here with hopes we can shovel ourselves out. It’s time to melt the ice and put the heat on to those who are working to turn it off.

Kind Regards, Blessings & Solidarity
Jerome Adamo (He/Him)
Concerned Citizen & Advocate”

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