Karen Ward

Articles by Karen Ward

street-sweep-copyDTES Street Sweeps are Social Cleansing

It’s eerie. In November, as everyone in the community knows, the City of Vancouver acted on its decision to “clean up” Hastings Street. Our people have been removed from the sidewalks and our public spaces, and have been threatened by by-law tickets and police harassment. (…)

unity-dianeSocial Mix is Exclusion

I’ve lived in Vancouver for thirteen years, in SROs for seven, I was homeless for about eight months, and now I live in supportive housing at Woodward’s. I’m an artist, and I live with a mental illness. I’m on the Local Area Planning Process committee that works with the City of Vancouver to create new planning policy for the Downtown Eastside. On the committee, I represent Gallery Gachet. (…)

vandu-housing-marc-2014cMarching together for housing justice

The VANDU Housing March is happening in the week prior to the federal election. We hope to garner some attention in the city at large and reopen a pretty stagnant conversation about public housing and about the housing crisis more widely. (…)

mentalhealthzineMental Health Crisis?

The Downtown Eastside is the only place I have found where you’re treated with decency and respect when you’re upfront about your illness. Politicians and doctors will never understand this. They have a lot of privilege and think they know the best way to live a life, and anything else is just wrong. (…)

gentrification-is-the-new-colonialismGentrification and Hipsters

You’ve seen them: the hipsters, walking down our streets and having expensive fancy coffees at the gentrifying shops along the west side of the DTES, like “Nelson the Seagull” and the shop below the Rainer Hotel. The $3 donuts at Cartem are for them; the $7 beers at the Bitter tasting room are for them. They have tight pants, big fake glasses, and over-styled facial hair. They walk around with cameras that would pay my rent for four months and want to take pictures of the neighbourhood for their silly-ass art projects. They think they’re being adventurous and edgy when they walk past Pigeon Park. (…)