YORKTON - It’s important everyone understand their rights.
So in 2017, Estevan Diversified Services produced a handbook ‘Your Life, Your Rights’.
Wednesday those attending the Together We Shine Conference at St. Mary’s Cultural Centre in Yorkton were taken through the book by Karen Melle and Cindy Anderson.
The duo basically took listeners through each ‘right’ detailed in the book, asking for audience feedback on what they were hearing.
The book starts with a very basic premise.
“You have the right to be yourself,” offered Melle, who added it’s important to know who you want to be too.
“If you looked in the mirror what would you say about yourself? . . . You can be whoever you want to be, so don’t ever be afraid of who you are.”
That was the segway for Anderson to turn the page in the book – everyone attending was given a copy – and to tell those attending “you have the right to be respected . . . Everybody deserves respect.”
And, so it was as Melle and Anderson worked through the book as part of the Yorkton Branch of SaskAbilities hosted conference.
Melle turned another page and the discussion turned to the “right to feel safe . . . to be comfortable and not afraid.”
In the discussion about feeling safe Melle talked about those who instill that feeling in us; family, church, doctors, police.”
Melle also reminded that we all the right to say yes to something, and conversely to say no as well, with an expectation of being listened to in both cases.
When discussion turned to the right to a home and to live where you want, it was noted that “it costs money to live in your home,” said Melle.
When it comes to money, Melle reminded “you have the right to know how much you pay for rent. You have the right to know where your money is going.”
Food of course is another expense in life, but we should expect to have food, said Melle, reminding “you should never have food taken away as a punishment. You have a right to food.”
Melle continued the discussion with attendees as Anderson posted pages on an easel on stage as a visual aid. The art, created by students at Estevan Comprehensive School students for the book, covering a range of things from the right to have friends, to the right to love and be loved, to the right to look at your private information to the right to work.
Melle said after the presentation the book really was a project to help clients know they have rights they might not immediately know, or understand.
The book lays out the rights in very simple and plain language, added Anderson, as a resource people can turn to, to better know what they should expect.