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Fighting poverty and more in northwest Toronto

On this week's episode of Talking Radical Radio, Scott Neigh speaks with Dwight Gordon. He is a member of Jane Finch Action Against Poverty, a group based in northwest Toronto that is active on anti-poverty issues and much more.

In Toronto, the neighbourhood in the city's northwest around the intersection of Jane Street and Finch Avenue has what might be described as a "bad reputation." While there has been the occasional instance of high profile crime in the area over the decades, in fact, as today's guest argues, it is really just a regular neighbourhood with regular people going about their lives. However, it is a neighbourhood where lots of Black people live and where there is lots of poverty -- so the "bad reputation" the community has among the city's more well-to-do residents is really more about old fashioned scorn for poor people and about anti-Black racism.

Dwight Gordon is a member of Jane Finch Action Against Poverty, an active group comprised of a diverse cross-section of residents of the Jane and Finch community. Founded in 2008 after a local rally on the International Day for the Elimination of Poverty, they currently meet twice a month, formerly in the local community health centre and now in a college's space in a mall at the Jane/Finch intersection.

The name of the group includes the word "poverty,"and indeed that is one important element of their focus. But perhaps what is most striking about the group is the way that it functions as a vibrant, multi-issue hub, allowing active residents of the neighbourhood to connect with a wide range of campaigns, initiatives and struggles. They are involved in issues spanning everything from social assistance, minimum wage, transit, racism, to healthy food and the tar sands pipeline that runs nearby.

Their actions include street corner protests in the neighbourhood, speaking on panels, flyering, participation as a group in larger actions in Toronto's downtown, meeting with officials, getting petitions signed and more. Gordon speaks with me about the community, about Jane Finch Action Against Poverty and about the many issues in which the group and its members are involved.

To learn more about Jane Finch Action Against Poverty, click here.

Talking Radical Radio brings you grassroots voices from across Canada. We give you the chance to hear many different people that are facing many different struggles talk about what they do, why they do it, and how they do it, in the belief that such listening is a crucial step in strengthening all of our efforts to change the world. To learn more about the show check out its website here. You can also follow us on FaceBook or Twitter, or contact scottneigh@talkingradical.ca to join our weekly email update list.

Talking Radical Radio is brought to you by Scott Neigh, a writer, media producer, and activist based in Hamilton (formerly Sudbury), Ontario, and the author of two books examining Canadian history through the stories of activists.

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