Sharon Avery: Talking about resilience means talking about equity

Sharon Avery at SHAD 2018
At SHAD Canada’s SHAD Five event, featuring entrepreneurs who are innovators, influencers and change makers.

It’s easy to lose sight of your destination when you’re consumed by “the busy” of getting there. Sometimes you just need a moment to reflect on how far along the journey you’ve come.
I got a chance recently to not only think, but to write about my perspective on urban resilience as a guest contributor for the blog, Meeting of Minds.
For the past two years, I have served as the volunteer chair of the Resilience Steering Committee for the City of Toronto. This committee was established to guide the creation of the City’s first multi-sector strategy that considered the “impacts of climate change within the context of a growing city facing challenges related to housing, mobility, and equity.”
Hundreds of Torontonians filled rooms, big and small, across our city, from Local Champions to sector leaders during the consultative process. One thing was immediately clear from their dialogues: a conversation about resilience is a conversation about equity.
Most, if not all, of us will be impacted by the societal, environmental, and economic, stresses and shocks of the future. But, not all of us will be impacted in the same way due a number of factors, e.g. race, income level, education.
Our 2017/18 Toronto’s Vital Signs Report explored the way in which our culture, systems, institutions, behaviours, mindsets and frames of reference may be putting up barriers that block some populations from accessing Toronto’s immense opportunities. At the most basic level, these are the opportunities that help ensure that all of us have a warm, safe place to sleep at night.
The Toronto Resilience Strategy emphasizes what we know to be true and calls on us all to take stock and take action. The report may be complete, but the work has just begun.
I encourage you to read the strategy to learn about where we are and where we need to be.
If you follow me on Twitter, stay tuned to @2savery, where I will share the blog once it’s published.