Since the early days of HCCI as the Strengthening Hamilton’s Community Initiative, the organization has centered its work around civic inclusion and engagement to tackle issues of racism, discrimination, and prejudice. Over the past 19 years, it has become apparent that to be a beacon of civic democracy in Canada we can and must include economic justice into our work and organizing. The forms of oppression we seek to address are interlocking in nature but produced from economic and political injustice. Therefore, we are committed to advancing, organizing, and fighting for not only social justice but economic justice to ensure the most marginalized in Hamilton attain access to dignity.
As such, we have taken on a leadership role in the Hamilton Community Benefits Network. The network is a coalition of like-minded organizations and unions in Hamilton committed to building an inclusive, thriving city where all residents from Ward 1 to 15 have equitable economic, political and social opportunities. We are committed to involving youth particularly those from equity-seeking groups to envision a Hamilton that goes beyond economic prosperity for a few. We aim to build a just Hamilton with youth that thrives on the principles of putting people’s health and wellbeing first, strengthening the social safety net of the most vulnerable, prioritizing the need of workers and communities, building resilience in our communities, working in solidarity across organizations and communities, and upholding Indigenous rights in partnership with Indigenous peoples.
As the City of Hamilton continues to grapple with a COVID recovery plan, we are witnessing the continual trend of profits before people. This pandemic has highlighted the value of racialized working people baring the brunt of the disease. This pandemic has highlighted how working class people are hugely underpaid. This pandemic has highlighted the need to invest in social and community safety nets.
Our values of anti-oppression, equity, justice, amplification of voices and decolonial practice serve as a launch point to address issues of economic justice in Hamilton.