Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52 Page 53 Page 54 Page 55 Page 56 Page 57 Page 58 Page 59 Page 60 Page 61 Page 62 Page 63 Page 64I’ve had the privilege of working with H.O.G. (Harley Owners Group), the Muslim community, Food Not Bombs, Acorn, and Anonymous. I’m not comparing these groups or trying to lump them all together. In fact, that’s the beauty of this list. They are all so very different from each other and very different from me. I was asked to speak at the Anonymous rally last fall following the annual Million Mask March, a march that Anons across North Amer- ica make every 5th of November. I wasn’t sure what to expect or how I might be accepted by this group, considering the fact that I am not a Guy Fawkes mask-wearing member. I needn’t have worried. In fact, I learned that the whole point of the mask is to equalize human beings so that things like nationality, age, and social status fade into the background. The mask symbolizes unity and community. And although Anons have a reputation for “hacktivism” and certain political persuasions, our local Nova Sco- tia groups choose to focus on social justice issues. Last year, Souls Harbour Rescue Mission part- nered with them for #OpSafeWinter. After a time of collecting and making up winter care kits, they brought a large potluck meal to share with our homeless guests that cold evening. They didn’t stop there, though. A group of them went and combed the streets, offering warmth to those who were unable to come inside. In fact, after the rally, a group of them went to provide a care kit to a woman who had been sleeping outside near Scotia Square. She was wearing a good winter jacket but underneath she was only wearing a pair of shorts. This group doesn’t just talk about justice; they live it. What could I say to this group? What on earth did they need to hear from me? I had more pre- pared, about 20 minutes’ worth; but when asked for a show of hands of how many minutes they wanted me to speak, most of them put up five fingers. So I cut to the chase. Loving Your Neighbor After giving a very brief summary of what can lead to homelessness, here is what I told the group: You can make a difference in your own cities and towns. None of us needs to travel far and wide to find friends in need. We can have a lasting impact in our own cities and learn how to unmask poverty! At any one time there are 30,000 homeless people in Canada. In Nova Scotia 2,000 peo- ple sleep outside or in shelters each night. And then there is a hidden homeless population made up of people such as couch surfers and women who shack up with men—even in dangerous situations—just to be warm. They account for another 50,000 people, so that on any one night in our country 80,000 people might be without a safe, warm place to sleep. There are people in Canada who have to choose between buying groceries and paying their power bill. But I’m here today to tell you that no one is without hope and no one is without redemp- tion! Never give up on family and friends who are struggling. Through kindness and tough love, there is always hope for a better life. When we serve at Souls Harbour, we don’t just serve soup-kitchen style—you’re in, you’re out. That certainly would be easier. But when we sit, we all sit together. When we eat, we all eat together. Rich and poor, young and old, we share food and fellowship. We build community. Come and linger. Bring friends or meet new ones. Eat. Stay awhile. Relax. You’re safe here. We want to create unity that tears down walls and removes masks. 32 WWW.AGRM.ORG JULY/AUGUST 2016 I’m not comparing these groups or trying to lump them all together. In fact, that’s the beauty of this list. They are all so very different from each other and very different from me.