"My nurse hands once did more useful things. They immunized the fat, healthy thighs of infants, they carefully measured cardiac drugs to administer to young heart patients, they bathed both the elderly lady after her surgery and the 24-year-old Italian-Canadian woman after her death. My hands once mixed linseed poultices, rubbed twenty backs a night before darkness fell and, by flashlight, checked intravenous drips, catheters, and other tubing. They made hot milk in the middle of the night and then, later at home, soothed a child with too-frequent earaches.These are good uses for hands.Now they carry a black bag into streets, alleyways, and ravines. The bandages I carry no longer cover the wounds of my patients. My vitamins will not prevent the white plague of tuberculosis from taking another victim. The granola bars I carry cannot begin to feed the hunger I meet. I cannot even help someone achieve one peaceful night of safety and sleep. Only roofs will do that. And I am not a carpenter."There is no right to shelter or housing in Canada.Over the past three decades, a series of federal governments cut funding for social programs and eliminated our national housing program, leaving hundreds of thousands of people victim to the tsunami of homelessness that was declared a national disaster twenty years ago. No one knows this reality better than Cathy Crowe, who witnessed the explosion of homelessness across Canada while working as a Street Nurse. This fallout was accompanied by great suffering, inhumane shelter conditions, new disease outbreaks, and clusters of homeless deaths.It is a reality that spans across the entire country.In A Knapsack Full of Dreams, Cathy Crowe details her lifelong commitment as a nurse and social justice activist-particularly her thirty years as a Street Nurse-with passion, grace, and fortitude. Presented through the lens of someone dedicated to the power and beauty of film, A Knapsack Full of Dreams will move you, then inspire you to act....
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About the Author
Cathy Crowe is a Canadian Street Nurse, educator, social justice activist, and filmmaker specializing in advocacy on homelessness in Canada. She is the author of Dying for a Home: Homeless Activists Speak Out and is a frequent commentator on issues related to health, homelessness, and affordable housing. Her articles have been published in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, and NOW Magazine, as well as on rabble.ca. Cathy was an executive producer in the Home Safe documentary-film series and is the subject of the film Street Nurse, directed by Shelley Saywell. Cathy is a co-founder of numerous advocacy groups, including the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee. She previously received the Economic Justice Award Fellowship from the Atkinson Charitable Foundation and the International Human Rights Award in Nursing from the International Centre for Nursing Ethics in Amsterdam. Besides her diploma in nursing from the Toronto General Hospital School of Nursing in 1972, her Bachelor of Applied Arts in nursing from Ryerson University in 1985, and her Master of Education (Sociology) from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in 1992, she has been awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Victoria, McMaster University, the University of Ottawa, York University, and the University of Windsor. Cathy received the Order of Canada in 2018 and is currently a Distinguished Visiting Practitioner in the Faculty of Arts at Ryerson University. Cathy continues to fight for the right to shelter and a fully funded national housing program....