Joey Clavette: Amplifying the Voices of Marginalized Writers

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By Janet Allingham RN

Why would a young university student give up a semester of school? In the case of Joey Clavette, the reason was altruistic. Joey decided he wanted to found a newspaper that would give homeless people a voice. 

Joey traces his decision back to an ethics course he took at the University of Ottawa. Ethics is a branch of knowledge that has to do with what’s right and what’s wrong. Joey says he was asking himself “How does a good person behave?” 

During the course, he’d read about a British ethicist, John Rawls, who suggested that the way to “do good” is to put yourself in the shoes of marginalized people-the folks at the sidelines: homeless people, for example. 

Joey felt that they needed a voice and that a newspaper focused on their issues could be the means to that end. And so The Wrench was born. For over half a year now it’s been part of Ottawa’s streetscape. 

Joey believes that it’s reasonable to imagine a city where everybody has a home. For him, home is important: a place where you can count on support; where shelter is adequate; and where you can feel comfortable. 

According to Joey, it’s reasonable to imagine a city where everybody has a place to call “home”. He wants Canadians to think about homelessness in Canada’s 150th year as a problem that can be fixed-something each of us can do something about. In his case, he founded a paper.