Downtown East April 2013

Downtown East April 2013



The April 2013 issue of the Downtown East celebrates the resistance of the Downtown Eastside low-income community against income inequality, gentrification and displacement, homelessness and housing injustice, racism and discrimination, deportation, and the criminalization of poverty. See the article index below for more.


Standing, Walking, and Flying for Social Justice

By Harold Lavender

It is election time. Will the urgent needs of the low-income community in the DTES (and elsewhere in B.C.) to raise the rates and build social housing NOW be met? Nothing will change for the better unless we organize, stand up, and make our voices and presence loud and clear during the campaign and afterwards. (…)


Hunger Strike for Social Housing and Against Gentrification

By Tami Starlight

“I’m prepared to go as long as it takes. It’s a life and death struggle for our community, a unique community in our city and country.”  That’s what “The Artist – formerly known as Homeless Dave” said to the media at City Hall on the 14th day of his hunger strike. (…)


Myths and Facts About the Downtown Eastside and Pidgin

By Diane Wood and Jean Swanson

Myth:  Diners will learn more about the DTES by dining in fancy restaurants that the locals can’t afford. Fact:  Outsiders could learn more about the area by volunteering in one of the groups that are working for change and actually talking to residents who are living in the area. (…)


Immigration officers are unwanted visitors in the Downtown Eastside

By Byron Cruz

Beware, beware! Pay your ticket when using the Sky Train or the transit officers will ask you for your name and they will communicate with immigration officers. An undocumented worker was beaten in the head (a hate crime). He was taken unconscious to hospital, and suddenly woke up to realize that beside his bed there were unwanted visitors (two immigration officers). (…)


Make Vancouver a Sanctuary City Today – Make No One Illegal Tomorrow!

By Ivan Drury

Downtown Eastside residents without citizenship status can’t get welfare, don’t qualify for social housing or most homeless shelters, risk deportation if they go to health clinics or the hospital, and are vulnerable to racist police (and immigration officer) harassment and brutality. A recent ruling by Toronto City Council declaring Toronto a “Sanctuary City” might offer a ray of hope (…)


the past is not past

Poem by Bud Osborn

the past is not past/ the dead are not dead/ the past is experiences/ of suffering and loss and joy and achievement/ the many lives in each of us/ in the generations inside us in the world inside us (…)


Fighting the Injustice of By-Law Tickets and “Proactive” Policing

By Dave Hamm

My first ticket for vending happened at Denman and Robson. I had injured my back, and was staying with a friend in a hotel. I needed to get $10 each day to pay the hotel guest fee, so I would push a cart along Granville, Davie, Denman and Robson collecting items and selling them. (…)


For the Love of Our Community

By Tracey Morrison

I’m from Morson, Ontario, near Minnesota close to the Manitoba border. I’m from the Ojibway Nation from Big Grassy reserve. I’m adopted. My uncle and aunt adopted me and my siblings– six of us from the same biological parents. My real dad and my adopted dad are brothers. And my adopted mom is Caucasian. I grew up as Mennonite. (…)


Gentrification and Hipsters

By Karen Ward

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. (…)


Power Hour: Housing and Homelessness in the Downtown Eastside

By Patricia Haram

Until I moved to the DTES, I was unfamiliar with the crisis of homelessness and poverty. There are approximately 11,000 homeless across BC, with 2500 homeless in the Greater Vancouver Regional District. Those who are homeless are disproportionately Native and most are suffering from some kind of physical or mental health issue or disability.


Speculation Fever

By Ivan Drury

Gentrification in the Downtown Eastside is fueled by real estate speculation, investment, development and the promise of the already super-rich buying-low and selling-high. These speculators are driving out the low-income community as part of doing business. Here’s a small sample of some key properties in the DTES: (…)


Tenant Power and Rent Control

By Connor Donegan

The Social Housing Coalition BC is demanding that the province outlaw renovictions and slumlording and begin enforcing maintenance standards that landlords now make a mockery of.  Renovictions happen when landlords renovate an apartment and then raise the rent beyond what existing tenants can afford, effectively evicting the tenant. (…)


Idle No More: A radical two-spirited Indigenous view

By Tami Starlight

The Idle No More movement was initiated by activists Nina Wilson, Sheelah Mclean, Sylvia McAdam, and Jessica Gordon in November 2012. It began with a teach-in at Station 20 West in Saskatoon called “Idle No More”, held in response to the Harper government’s introduction of Bill C-45. (…)


The Canadian prison system is racist and getting racist-er

By Ivan Drury

On March 7th Canada’s corrections investigator announced that 1/4 of people in federal prisons are status Indians; Indigenous prisoners are likely to stay in prison longer than non-natives; they are more likely also to be quickly arrested and imprisoned again after being released; and Indigenous people have an incarceration rate 10-times higher than non-natives. (…)


Oppenheimer Park Film Program

By Juan Manuel Sepúlveda

Every Tuesday at 2pm, in the field house of the Oppenheimer Park, documentary and experimental films are screened, followed by a group conversation. The intention is to create a space where everyone can enjoy a beautiful and politically valuable film and share their experience in a critical way. We have had twelve screenings, and we expect to continue the program during the spring and the summer. (…)


DTES Historic Plaque Gone Missing

By Jean Swanson

A historical plaque that was supposed to have been put on a light pole near the Patricia Hotel at Dunlevy and Hastings is MISSING. The plaque is about the death of Olaf Solheim in 1986. Solheim lived at the Patricia Hotel for 60 years where he was surrounded by a community of friends. He was forced out in 1986 when the Patricia Hotel (…)


Head Tax Families Society releases their historic commemorative plaque

News Brief

A contingent of directors and members of the Head Tax Families Society of Canada proudly displaying their “Sites of Resistance” market commemorating their struggle. Most, especially the seniors, were on the November 26, 2005 rally which became a seminal moment in their redress movement.

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