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The Winnipeg Foundation ignites meaningful dialogues in compelling podcast series

This four-part series did a deep dive into critical issues highlighted in Winnipeg’s Vital Signs® 2022 report, which points out a worrying decline in trust in institutions and a diminishing sense of belonging within the community. Hosted by Nolan Bicknell, each episode brought together three leading experts to explore vital themes: trust in institutions, sense of belonging, the environment, and empathy and compassion fatigue.

Episode 1: Trust in Institutions

Cecil Rosner, an adjunct professor at the University of Winnipeg, Ayn Wilcox, executive director of Klinic Community Health, and Molly McCracken, director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, examine the erosion of trust within their industries and propose solutions for rebuilding it. Cecil Rosner emphasizes the need for comprehensive fact-checking to counter the growing influence of powerful interests in media, saying, “It’s not just (Donald) Trump that needs to be fact-checked, everything needs to be fact-checked because of what’s happened with media over the last few years. The ranks of media and reporters are shrinking, and the ranks of communications and publicists are increasing. Therefore, it’s easier for powerful interests to get their messages into the media.”

Episode 2: Sense of Belonging

Guests Michael Redhead Champagne, community leader in Winnipeg’s North End, Ashley Smith, director of advocacy at Rainbow Resource Centre, and Shereen Denetto, executive director at Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba, explore how individual’s social and environmental connections contribute to overall well-being and discuss strategies for creating a more inclusive Manitoba. Champagne passionately advocates for a revolutionary approach to amplify voices that have long been silenced, saying, “In work that I’m doing today, I talk about revolution and how we’re going to break these systems down, get rid of the ones that are hurting us, and build up new systems that are based on love and equity.”

Episode 3: The Environment

Julia-Simone Rutgers, an environmental reporter, joins Natured United’s Indigenous community engagement coordinator Marshall Birch, and Ron Thiessen, executive director of CPAWS Manitoba, to discuss ways to navigate conversations surrounding the climate emergency. Rutgers highlights the importance of amplifying community voices, explaining, “They are the eyes on the ground. They see where the gaps are. They see where their communities are not being protected properly. Their fears, and the things that they notice, deserve to be brought forward.”

Episode 4: Empathy and Compassion Fatigue

Daniel Lussier, CEO of Réseau Compassion Network, Grace Schedler, a facilitator and presenter at Circles for Reconciliation, and Jamil Mahmood, executive director of Main Street Project, explore how to hold space for those who hold different opinions by remaining curious. Lussier offers his perspective, “A simple way for me to think about empathy is our ability to feel with someone else that allows us to understand, relate, and be in relationship with.”

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