Week 10 Secondary Post: Social Justice Journalism

I’ve stumbled across many social justice blogs and organizations during this year that I wouldn’t have otherwise, if not for this course, Blogging the Just City.

But I still wonder…

Is the future of social justice journalism still bright?

I think a lot of people have different stances on this topic. Plenty of others before me have offered their opinions on issues related to social justice and journalism. Now I want to contribute mine.

Social justice is fundamental to society, any society. There won’t always be complete justice for everybody, but without any measure of justice, there isn’t much of a society. At least in my eyes.

Journalism, on the other hand, isn’t dead. It has just taken on modernized, digitalized forms. And there’s nothing wrong with enhancing the way readers access their news. If anything, journalism has grown more alive. Time has revived the older print form of journalism and breathed new life into it on the Internet. Today writers can share news faster and easier than ever before. 

No matter what happens in the upcoming months and years, there is a future for social justice journalism. Just like there is a future for both separately. Social justice will continue to exist. Advocates will advocate for equality, fairness, and justice. Writers as well as bloggers will keep journalism alive. Social justice journalism has the potential to revolutionize society. 

More and more people are engaging in social justice journalism. Blogs, run by an individual or by an organization, are being created every day. Many of them report on social justice issues or touch on them to some extent. 

Blogging isn’t equivalent to journalism, but it’s still a way of contributing to social justice discussions. And those conversations often lead to so much more. 

Week 10 Link: Parking Infractions and Traffic Congestion

Some parking infractions in Toronto will cost you more starting today.

Although I understand that this is in an effort to “reduce traffic congestion”, I’m not entirely sure just yet how effective raising the fines will be.

I like to think a larger fine will deter drivers from blocking a sidewalk or double parking. However, I doubt everyone is fully aware of this change. So it might take a while before the city sees real results in decreased congestion.

I hope raising the fine will reduce issues with traffic to make it easier for everyone in the city to get around. After all, roads and sidewalks have a purpose.

Week 10 Main Post: Transit Crisis in Toronto

The more time I spend on the subway and bus, the more I realize there are issues with accessibility that isn’t easy to address.

For one, the price just keeps going up. As the price of tokens and tickets increase, accessibility decreases. Not everyone can afford to compensate for the costs of their commute. Sure, some individuals will continue to use the TTC regardless, but at some point, carpooling or biking when possible could become a cheaper alternative.

Another issue is the location of bus routes, subway lines, etc. There is a heavy concentration of transit options in the downtown core of Toronto, which is understandable but still a shame nonetheless. For those living in suburban or rural areas who need to take the subway or bus, they have a long commute before they can reach the first bus route and probably an even longer commute to find a subway line. I realize it’s impossible to have the TTC cover every part of the city, but as of right now, Toronto only has 4 subway lines and 11 streetcar routes, with 4 of them running at night. This coupled with the fare can be a major turn-off for potential and even present commuters.

Access to transit is not equal. However, it should be for both the rich and poor as well as those living downtown along with people residing in suburban neighbourhoods. If something doesn’t change soon, I feel as though the rich will become richer while the poor have little to no opportunity to prosper since they cannot even leave their community. And even if they can, they will still face a difficult commute. It is hard enough to meet basic survival needs while living under the poverty line. It’ll be even harder saving enough money to take a bus or train.

I believe the TTC can help in bridging the city to make it more accessible. They need to start freezing fare prices or even consider lowering them in order to allow a greater number of individuals to take public transportation. And expanding routes or lines in the future to other busy, populated areas outside of downtown Toronto will help passengers reach the subway or streetcar.

Week 10 Comment: Transit Accessibility

Morgan’s post: Week 10 Main Blog: Bridging the City

My comment: I wish the city had more transit options that were easily accessible for people outside of the downtown area. Although I understand that because the population is heavily concentrated in certain districts in Toronto, it makes more sense to have streetcars or buses in some areas and not others. Another issue with accessibility arises with the fares. Perhaps the price is another factor in the divide. Poorer communities cannot afford to take the TTC every day, so the company reasons why have routes if people won’t use them because it’s too costly.

Week 9 Secondary Post: “Paper Thin”

The “A4 Waist Challenge” has led to plenty of online controversy

The purported “challenge” 

has people checking to see if their waistline can be hidden behind the width of the paper: a span of approximately 8.3 inches, or 21 centimetres.

Being deemed a “challenge” encourages individuals to attempt it. Can a piece of A4 paper conceal their waistline? 

Unfortunately, this divides people into two groups. Those who can complete the “challenge” and those who can’t. Or those who are “paper thin” versus those who are not. If you’re someone who correlates “thin” with pretty or beautiful, then this “trend” calls people out in the wrong way. If that paper doesn’t hide your waistline, you’re less beautiful than everyone else who can. 

It sends the wrong message. 

And when this message reaches young boys and girls, it can cause disastrous consequences. 

Eating disorders are real. They’re on the rise. The “A4 Waist Challenge” will probably promote the wrong ideas, leading to life-threatening issues.  

The ‘paper thin’ trend originates from China, where it was described as a ‘fitness challenge’ by the state newspaper People’s Daily.

This “fitness challenge” to put it lightly doesn’t seem very realistic. Some may regard it as impossible. 

Worse what started as a “fitness challenge” has the potential to contribute to a lifetime of pain. 

Week 9 Link: Labeling Those With a Disability

While I’m happy to hear that a woman turns herself in to police after autistic boy’s iPad stolen, the headline also annoys me at the same time.

The headline would have worked just fine without any mention of the boy’s disability.

Interestingly enough, the woman is not described with any other name or label. However, the boy is. This just calls even more attention to his disability, which is quite harmful.

In other contexts, I feel as though this label would draw plenty of unwarranted stereotypes, leading to further stigmatization of individuals with disabilities.

Week 9 Main Post: Daniels Spectrum and Artscape

Having never been to Regent Park, I didn’t know what to expect. But safe to say the community surprised me in many ways.

We stopped at Daniels Spectrum and found out about many different organizations.

On their official website, they describe the place as a

cultural hub in Regent Park open to everyone.

They also go on to say that

it is home to many outstanding arts-based and community-focused organizations, and contains several event, performance and exhibition spaces that host tens of thousands of visitors and hundreds of arts and cultural events each year.

Daniel Spectrum

I found that I was very drawn to Artscape and what they were doing not just for people living in Regent Park but other individuals or groups from other communities.

Artscape is a not-for-profit urban development organization that makes space for creativity and transforms communities.

Our work involves clustering creative people together in real estate projects that serve the needs of the arts and cultural community and advance multiple public policy objectives, private development interests, community and neighbourhood aspirations and philanthropic missions.

Their work got me thinking about the lack of spacing that’s often an issue when it comes to housing, schooling, as well as other important areas in bringing people together.

I think it’s very important for children and adults to have a place where they can sing, dance, act, etc. Unfortunately, some individuals aren’t able to afford to rent a recording booth or theatre for the creative endeavours they hope to pursue. And sometimes the community as a whole can’t set aside a decent sized space with the right resources for the arts.

Often times academics come first. Then athletics. The arts are sometimes abandoned and neglected.

However, Artscape wants to offer a safe space for artistic, creative expression.

I admire that the group aims to foster the arts by giving incredible people the right place come together.

Every day, Artscape spaces come alive with the ideas and passion of the 116 organizations and 2,300+ people who work and/or live within our portfolio of buildings. Thirty-two public venues pulse with the energy of the 247,000+ people who take part in exhibitions and performances annually and the thousands more who participate in our programs, tenant-driven activities and city-wide events.

Artscape

And they are just as incredible.