Answering the first five questions about my Regent Park experiences:
1) What was your role as Community Coordinator? What sorts of things did you do?
[A. Simon Mielniczuk] community organizing, rpcia administration, community fundraising, newsletter editing and production, service development, inter-group and agency coordination and negotiations training.
2) I’m interested in the question of the stigmitization of Regent Park tenants by the media and other sources in general. Is this something that the tenants you worked with were concerned about? What about your own thoughts on the stereotyping of poor people at the time?
[A. Simon Mielniczuk] Many times — I’m sure there is material on this in my collection.
3) On the tenant management initiative. What’s your evaluation of its successes and failures? Why do you think OHC pulled the plug?
[A. Simon Mielniczuk] that is a long story but the bottom line is that OHC never wanted the program and did everything possible to see it’s demise. I could never understand all their roadblocks until years later when I was working at the Fac of Social Work at UofT and discussed with Al Rose, then prof emeritus and previously on the Board at time of Tenant Management. He recalled how the Board had felt that the Feds shoved the program on them and they never really wanted it.
4) I’d like your opinion on why tenants got involved, the extent of participation and some of the obstacles of organizing in RP during the 70s.
[A. Simon Mielniczuk] another long answer, but the participation was quite remarkable. obstacles were both internal community politics and external factors.
5) Did you work with Janet Ross? She’s central to this stuff as you know. Do you have any idea what her own personal history was? Where she came from etc.? Do you know if she is still in Toronto?
[A. Simon Mielniczuk] Very closely and we stayed in touch sporadically for several years until we lost track of each other about 10 yrs ago. I know lots about her personal history, but will not share unless you find her and I can get her OK.
5) Any other thoughts or memories?
[A. Simon Mielniczuk] Many – some even recorded and filed.
Looking forward to meeting you when you come back to TO