Prisons, Residential Schools, Homelessness – We Must Never Give Up on People: Interview with Lydia Bardak

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I really don’t know how to start this post. I have been messed up since this conversation came up. Lydia Bardak may be the most courageous and most compassionate person I have ever met. From the moment we walked down the street on the “worst” block of the city I was impressed. Lydia knew everyone’s name and greeted them with dignity. She didn’t see the drugs and other madness. Lydia saw real people, and they in return greeted her with smiles. I was amazed how well Lydia was able to embrace the different cultures.

For the last few days, everywhere I look, I see the “walking wounded” of a gorgeous people. Right outside my window people are passed out on the sidewalk. It’s a scene you’d see in a big city, but does not seem to fit this little community of Yellowknife.

Lydia is the executive director of the John Howard Society of the Northwest Territories. She may be the most knowledgeable person I have met on how prisons, addictions, residential schools, child protective services, and homelessness all interrelate. Lydia believes, and so do I, that we can never give up on people. Her personal story, and courage to share it with us, is beyond imagination. I will tell you this, I have huge respect for Lydia, and her story will mess you up.


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