Having been a Commissioner on the second Leeds Poverty Truth Commission, and been one of those who continued into the third to bring his learning and expereinces into a new group, Community Commissioner Jamies reflects on the impacts of the pandemic…
we lost more than a year during this pandemic,
a significant amount of time to connect.
This makes a Poverty Truth Commission truly function its best.
I feel guilt for being unable to materialise the ideas we had,
how people were torn between their jobs,
personal issues, and this commission.
As a result, a few members had to leave.
In comparison to others, there are times I felt unworthy;
for all intents and purposes my life has been stable,
mundane, without too much drama to speak of.
What can I say that isn’t obvious?
How decisions on free school meals were an insult to child poverty,
universal credit beyond bursting point,
a universal basic income NEEDED NOW more than ever?
In December, I labelled this pandemic the paradigm shift of our generation.
Unfortunately, little has changed in the way our Government treats people struggling;
there was a blinding lack of leadership and guidance.
The next two shifts are a likely No-deal Brexit and worse,
failure to act on Climate Change –
both will drastically affect poverty.
My coping mechanism to the pandemic was to shut myself off,
a compassion fatigue, endless nihilistic thoughts.
I am strong but I feel worn out, disconnected…
I have memory black-outs, forgetting one month to the next.
This makes reflecting on PTC Leeds difficult…
The other commissioners, their stories were the strongest;
from being homeless, the inhumanity of the care system,
assisting refugees, endless rings one must leap through – for support.
Too many catch twenty-twos for my liking, the strength people must have to persist.
In comparison, all my frustrations with technology seem minute!
Devices overheating, broken microphones, sensory overloads from Zoom calls.
The log-in issues, broken WIFI, increased eye strain I felt.
My many months of insomnia persist.
The way our Commission began seems so long ago,
it’s hard for me to grasp and remember.
I felt like a bad influence dragging the team down
with my backseat approach, for the lack of energy I bring;
for avoiding the limelight of the BBC.
There’s so much I’m unsure of. Maybe it’s just me,