Tainting the Poppy: Remembrance Day and Sheltered Worshops

So Remembrance Day is around the corner and for the first year of my life, I am making a conscious choice not to wear one of those poppies that are available in exchange for a donation. I don’t think I can look at those plastic poppies the same way again.

It is not that I have changed my opinion on the importance of remembering the horrors of war and keeping those losses and the ideologies that lead to them at the forefront of the social consciousness. this is not a rant against Remembrance Day or a commentary on veterans.

I just learned that in Ontario, those ubiquitous plastic poppies are sometimes assembled in sheltered workshops. These are places where disabled people work for subminimum wage, segregated from the rest of society.

I cannot in good conscious wear a symbol to honour the past, that was created by a system that systematically segregates and devalues people in the present.

Instead of wearing one of those mass produced poppies I will instead purchase a poppy brooch, that I can be assured was not manufactured in a sheltered workshop.

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