The phrase “buy local” wasn’t exactly in vogue when Carrie Malloy was a kid, growing up on a farm 45 minutes outside of Regina. But that’s how her parents lived anyway. When the family dishwasher broke, they didn’t go to the city for a new one. Instead, her dad insisted on heading to the nearby town of Qu’Appelle (population: 600) to support the handful of local businesses there. “If you don’t use your community,” Carrie remembers him saying, “then you won’t have one.”
That ethos has always stuck with Carrie, even as she travelled and taught in Asia for a decade after university, gaining a global perspective on issues like human rights. In the meantime, she got her master’s degree in international intercultural education at the University of Alberta, and was thrilled to discover shortly afterwards that the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights (JHC) was hiring. “It was pretty exciting to find a little organization right here in Edmonton,” Carrie says. “There aren’t many organizations like it.”
In her time with the JHC, Carrie oversaw a range of programs, conferences and resources designed to teach Edmontonians what human rights are, and how they affect our everyday lives. She helped create its human rights facilitator training program, which has seen more than 300 attendees, from all walks of life, since its inception.
A question that guided Carrie’s work with the JHC was: “How can we help other people understand that they have worth?” The key, she found, was being part of a community — and that’s what inspires her about public engagement, too. “I think getting involved is exciting, even if it’s on a small scale,” she says. “City Council might not be for everyone. But knowing who lives around you is the least we can all do. One little knock on the door can be the first step.”