Looking back at my year at CPJ, it is amazing to reflect on the many things I have done and learned and the wonderful friendships I have made during this time. My internship experience has helped me to better understand complex social and economic issues and to frame these issues through a public justice lens. My eyes are opened to a place where faith and politics meet and where justice is advocated through policies. I am learning to use citizenship as a tool for justice to help shape policies and practices that contribute to the common good.
Being CPJ’s first policy intern, it was exciting for me to set the bar for the internship. While I had the freedom to explore issues that I was interested in, I was also given new opportunities and challenges to work on. As CPJ went through its transition of moving from Toronto to Ottawa, I got to work with a great new group of young and enthusiastic staff who are passionate about integrating faith and public life.
Before I came to CPJ, I have always been very passionate about social justice and now I find myself seeing the difference between these two forms of justice and appreciating the values of public justice. It is humbling to be surrounded by a community of people who believe that we are called to love our neighbors and to practice just and peaceful relations among individuals, communities, organizations and governments.
Working at CPJ, I have many exciting opportunities to explore the role of government and its calling to promote public justice. It is helpful to use a public justice framework to analyze the different perspectives of complex social issues. This enriching experience taught me that we are continually working together to shape our public life to reflect God’s call for love, justice and stewardship.
Being in Ottawa creates many occasions to engage politicians and challenge them to support policies and practices that reflect public justice. I have had many memorable meetings with Ministers, including Stockwell Day and Monte Solberg, Senators and Members of Parliament from different political parties. Whether it is at their offices, in the hallways of parliament or at receptions, it is truly a learning experience to be able to dialogue with decision makers on important issues and policies.
During my internship, I have learned more about the public policy process and have done in depth research, writing, analysis and advocacy on issues including poverty, affordable housing and homelessness. One of the highlights of my work was developing a poverty reduction campaign and travelling across cities in Canada to hold workshops and engage people on poverty issues.
Over the past year, I have been able to successfully network with various sectors of society and build relationships with those in government and in non-governmental organizations. I attended various conferences and board meetings, and helped to organize CPJ’s Annual General Meeting. I have made valuable contacts and friendships through this all and I will take them with me as I move on from CPJ.
I will greatly miss the supportive work environment and the strong sense of community in the office. One of the many reasons I value working at CPJ is being in an encouraging atmosphere from working closely with other CPJ staff and developing intentional relationships with the CPJ community.
My time at CPJ has been very meaningful and has equipped me with the skills and knowledge I need to continue working in the area of policy and advocacy. I will use my unique policy experience from CPJ to pursue further education while advocating for social issues and speaking out for those who experience injustice in their lives. At the end of my work, I am encouraged to live in hope and work for a just and peaceful society in which all can live in dignity and have access to resources needed to live out God’s calling.
Trixie Ling is CPJ’s inaugural policy intern. She will be greatly missed!