Blog

Listening to and amplifying the voices of marginalized people

Each message pays tribute first to a person’s story, highlighting and sharing the richness and diversity of these heartfelt testimonies.


By Manu Allard and John Guido

Last year, we produced and broadcast four messages as part of a values campaign which sought to update basic human values to contemporary culture using the communication tools of our time.

The common theme of these messages was the importance of listening to people who have been excluded or marginalized, one of L’Arche’s fundamental values.

In the next logical step of this campaign, we propose to focus on amplifying the voices of marginalized people. We believe that it’s not up to us to empower them, yet when they are listened to their voices have power. We have the responsibility to transmit their voices publicly so that their lived experience, ideas, and learning contribute to the process of global social reflection and action for change.

Future messages will highlight testimonies from socially vulnerable people, people with intellectual disabilities or other forms of disabilities or limitations.

A new step forward

We took time to reflect on new challenges and media issues before entering the second phase of our campaign.

One of the major challenges we face in delivering our social media messages is the significant changes Facebook has made to the visibility of its pages. This has dropped drastically due to the choice of new algorithms favouring the distribution of content published by individuals.

This means that if we want posts published on our pages to be visible, we have no choice but to pay to promote them, or we need to identify other distribution strategies. One possibility is to increase our presence in interest groups and forums.

Another aspect we need to consider is the standards for how long social media messages are viewed, which are constantly decreasing. On average, Internet users will rarely view more than two minutes of content on YouTube, just over one minute on Facebook and even less on Instagram. We have therefore realigned our communication strategy according to these new parameters.

A lively and diversified presentation

Each message consists of filmed sequences of testimonies enhanced with animation segments to illustrate the intensity of the experience of people marginalized by vulnerability. The multi-style approach is perfectly in line with new trends reflecting the diversity of perceptions and cultures to which we are now exposed.

A tribute to people

Each message pays tribute first to the person’s own expression, being respectful of his or her experience. Whether these messages relate a personal story or express a belief, the idea is to highlight and share the richness and diversity of these heartfelt testimonies.

A reminder of our campaign objectives

Together with our outreach partners, this campaign invites us to reassert what is needed to live with difference, create relationships and a sense of belonging, and help each person develop their own gifts and abilities. We seek to raise awareness among the general population of the values and skills that contribute to building more vibrant, diverse and inclusive communities.


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What does a set of 1940s floorboards have to teach us about COVID living?

Stepping Up

When Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer stated that non-medical masks limit the transmission of COVID-19, L’Arche Saskatoon’s artsy residents also got to work. Out came the fabrics, scissors, thread and needles. Brock wanted to contribute using two of his greatest assets: his feet.

A Light Ahead

The social distancing caused by the pandemic has been trying. Thankfully, aside from those who have donated their time, money and ingenuity to help L’Arche, there are the health care workers, grocery store clerks and all those on the front line who are helping the L’Arche community get through this crisis. With their help, it won’t be long until the Gathering Place opens again and the community starts making new memories.

Second Life

Kris first met Joanna in L’Arche London, Ontario. She encouraged Kris to join L’Arche, and he did. They lived and worked side-by-side for six years until Kris moved to Nova Scotia. Still, they managed to see each other a few times a year and occasionally called one another about matters of life and faith. But this call was different.

The Gift of Dance

Dance is a profound gift; it’s an artistic expression, a mood enhancer, a workout, a surefire way to impress a date and a form of magic. A dancer can transform into a flower, a lion or their favourite pop star. Above all, dance is an act of joy. (We dare you to wiggle around for a minute and not feel happier than you were before.) The gift of dance, and all it provides, has found its way into L’Arche.

Life’s Tough Obstacles

It was late June. A park in Edmonton had been reserved. Food was stacked on picnic tables. Local students of all ages were dressed in taekwondo uniforms, preparing for their annual Break-a-thon. The Break-a-thon is an innovative fundraiser where martial arts students showcase their skills by breaking boards. For each broken board, donations are pledged and raised for L’Arche.

Taking our place in the inclusion movement

It is an important time for the accessibility and inclusion movement in Canada and the world, and L’Arche Canada is developing our capacity to take our place.

Silent encounter with the “man who repairs women”

Denis Mukwege begs us empathetically to remain attentive, to listen deeply to what is inherent in our human condition: our sensitivity and vulnerability.

Companions on the Journey: Part Two

The road of transformation has its breakthrough moments, yet it takes many twists and turns along the way. That’s why we need to nourish ourselves and the fellowship we share.

Companions on the Journey: Part One

John and Greg talk about how their friendship took root and has grown through mutual support for over thirty years.

L’Arche Canada’s monthly e-mail review of news, stories, and commentary about what is happening in L’Arche, with our partners, and within Canadian society.