Sherri Torjman – Becoming Visible in 2011- Walking Tall

Sherri Torjman was one of the fifty-five who responded to my question: What would you like to become visible in 2011? 

Sherri is an author, policy analyst, researcher, Vice President of the Caledon Institute of Social Policy and one of Canada's most acclaimed and accomplished commentators on social policy.  With her at your side, your changemaking is bound to be successful. Here is Sherri's answer to Becoming Visible.

Sherri Torjman

In 2011, I hope we can walk tall.  Walking tall actually has nothing to do with walking.  Nor does it have anything to do with tall.

Walking tall is about taking the high road.  It is about bringing integrity to a world filled with cynicism and distrust.  It is about a higher plane which is uniquely human but which seems to have become lost in a frenzied, angry world.

Walking tall is about spirituality − not in a religious sense though some may express their spirituality through religion.  Rather, it is about what it means to be human.

It is about how we care for ourselves, for each other and for our neighbourhoods and communities.   

Walking tall is about putting humanity back in our lives.  To make human well-being a priority rather than an afterthought on the public agenda − after the economic plan is in place, after the deals are done and after the money is made.

The world seems more divided than ever − by religious conflict, racial tensions and glaring inequalities in wealth and power.  The gap between those with and without continues to grow.  Perhaps the biggest loss has been our sense of self, of each other and of our place on this planet. 

How did we get here?  How have we come to live in a world in which so many want to get off?  Or have already dropped out − through drugs, crime or violence.  Or more quietly through depression and despair.

Others have not chosen to drop out but they have been left out.  They have been excluded not by their own choice but by others.  By fear.  By discrimination.  By attitudes and barriers that deny access to place, to self-respect and to the means to earn a living.

Then there are those who have jobs but still live in poverty.  They are employed but can’t make ends meet.  They work for pay yet remain poor. 

My hope for 2011 is that we take more time to value our world and the quality of life.  We need to place human well-being at the centre of development. 

One bright spot is the movement of economists who are trying to put happiness on the radar screen as a serious goal for public policy.  Dollars go only so far in terms of meeting human needs.  Real wealth is created through rich bonds of human relationships. 

Their message in a money-manic world is profound.  It is a small but significant step in walking tall − and in reclaiming our humanity

NOTE: Click the featured Section-Becoming Visible 2011 on the right side of your screen to read the other contributions.

Here is one of the posts referencing Sherri's speech at the Canada@150 conference.


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One Comment

  1. Allyson Hewitt

    Al, it is humbling to be asked to contribute thougths to this blog when one is able to read the profound and articulate musings of someone like Sherri. Instead of writing my own blog, I would encourage a dialogue on some of the ideas posted here with everyone adding their unique perspective on how we could make this happen. In my world, leading SiG@MaRS, I have been blessed with an opportunity to discover that promotion of “walking tall” comes without regard to corporate form, but with complete regard to intent married to impact. For 2011 I would like to see us create an enabling environment for those engaged in social purpose work to flourish. For us to throw together terms that we don’t normally associate like “social finance” or “hybrid legal structure” with an outcome of getting us to think differently, innovatively, about using all the resources at our disposal to make our world, country, city, town, community – the place we want it to be. I look forward to joining you all on this journey. Happy new year to all.

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