VICTORIA—At the conclusion of Community Social Services Awareness Month on March 31, some 45 CUPE and HEU members from the Lower Mainland joined a crowd of more than 300 people in the provincial capital for the fourth annual Walk for Community Social Services.
The bus trip to Victoria united members of CUPE 1936 and the Hospital Employees’ Union, including president Ken Robinson and financial secretary Donisa Bernardo. The walk was the final event of CSS Awareness Month, wrapping up a series of activities aimed at promoting a sector that is suffering from cutbacks and lack of adequate resources.
Braving the rain on a cold Saturday morning in Victoria, walk participants called for a stronger commitment to community-based services that support victims of violence, youth at risk, people with developmental disabilities, women in transition, immigrant families and many others.
Developmental Disabilities Association spokesperson Alanna Hendren reminded the gathering that 60 years ago community social services did not exist and that 20 years ago people with disabilities were still institutionalized.
“It’s because of you that people can live in community,” she said, in a tribute to the workers who provide community social services.
Other speakers included child care support worker Andrea Duncan, Mickey Cook from the Victoria Native Friendship Centre, and city councillor Charlayne Thornton-Joe, who brought greetings on behalf of the City of Victoria.
CSS Awareness Month, celebrated throughout March, was proclaimed by the B.C. government and received declarations from more than 50 municipalities this year.
For photos of the event, visit the CUPE BC gallery.