Downtown East February 2014

Downtown East February 2014



The February 2014 issue of the Downtown East focuses on the Missing and Murdered Women’s Memorial March, in its 23rd year this February 14th, and the DTES Local Area Planning Process, which is set to wind up in the next few months with a mobilization needed in March. Read and share the articles below!

jwomens-memorial-posters-003Year After Year: marching for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women

By Cecily Nicholson

It has been over a year since community members were subjected to the Sham Inquiry into the deaths and disappearances of women who lived and worked in the Downtown Eastside, and its investigation into the failure of the RCMP, Vancouver Police Department, the City of Vancouver and the Province of British Columbia to protect these vulnerable women. (…)

wag-copyWomen’s Action Group: Women supporting women in the Downtown Eastside

By Dave Diewert

Just over a year ago, Dianne Tobin was asked if she would consider forming a women’s peer support group at the Drug Users Resource Centre (formerly known as Lifeskills). She enthusiastically said “Yes!” Dianne has had a long history in the DTES. For a number of years she was president of VANDU and the BC Association of People on Methadone. She has been involved in the NAOMI and SALOME heroin assisted therapy projects and many years ago helped start a women’s group at VANDU. (…)

diane-dollThe Rebel Queen

By Diane Wood

I’m asking why women’s achievements are written out of history by making Feminist Zombie Dolls. I’m researching and creating notorious bad girls and freedom fighters. These strong, independent women swam against the tide of their times, and challenged the public belief: “You can’t do that because you’re a WOMAN!” (…)

lucia_harjap_grewal_jan31-copyIn memory of Lucia Varga Jimenez

By Dave Diewert

News broke this past week of the tragic death of Lucia Varga Jimenez while in the custody of the Canada Border Services Agency. Lucia was a 42 year old Mexican migrant and hotel worker in Vancouver. In 2010 her refugee claim was denied by Canadian Immigration officials. She was deported but returned in 2013. She found work in the hotel industry and sent her earnings home to support the health care needs of her ailing mother, as well as her sister and three children. (…)

tamara-copyPlans and profiteers: the scoop on the draft DTES Local Area Plan

By Tamara Herman

The City has finally released its draft Local Area Plan (LAP) for the DTES and the plan is under fire from all sides. Some people who want to see the DTES become a higher-income neighbourhood say that the plan gives too much housing and power to low-income residents. Others say that the plan is a blueprint for social mix that will destroy the low-income community. City Council can adopt the plan as it is, change it, or reject it. (…)

victoria-copyWe want an Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Centre…. Now!

By Jean Swanson

Many members of the Downtown Eastside Local Area Planning Committee are calling for the City and Vancouver Coastal Health to build an Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Centre in the Downtown Eastside (DTES), and to do it quickly. The Downtown East talked to Tracey Morrison and Victoria Bull, Committee members who first brought up this idea, about why they want this centre in the DTES. (…)

cartoonConsultation is not consent: reflecting on community participation in a city planning process

By Harold Lavender

The DTES Local Area Planning Process is rapidly winding down to an unsatisfactory conclusion. When low-income caucus members petition on the street for our demands, we feel overwhelming support. Community members favour building much more social housing, so that they won’t be displaced and can afford to live here. They want to control the spread of high-end stores and create better services which meet our needs in a dignified way. (…)

dtes-paint-in-displacement-copyHow a definition can displace a community: defining ‘social housing’ in the DTES planning process

By Jean Swanson

n terms of affordability, the citywide target in new social housing is 50% at income assistance or Household Income Limits (HILs) and 50% at affordable market rents. To address housing need in the Downtown Eastside and achieve the policy objectives of this plan, the target for affordability for new social housing for the Downtown Eastside will be one-third at income assistance, one-third up to HILs and one-third at affordable market rents. In pursuing this target, greater flexibility may be required to provide opportunities to maximize the delivery of social housing.  – “Definition of social housing: target for affordability,” from the DTES Local Area Plan draft vision. (…)

ming_sun_v1s-copyGentrification and the DTES Chinese community

By King-mong Chan

Not much is known about how gentrification is impacting the Downtown Eastside (DTES) Chinese community. There is still much that I have yet to learn but I hope to bring out what I have observed so far. Many housing activists are already connecting gentrification to lessening the chance of building the social housing we need, as well as the displacement of low-income residents (regardless of ethnicity) through renovictions and other means. (…)

21abbot4flux-copyThe Abbotsford Shuffle: Homeless people pushed from park to railway tracks

By Dave Diewert

On Dec 20, 2013, after occupying Jubilee Park for two months, the people of Abbotsford’s Dignity Village homeless camp were forced to move. They set up a teepee and tents in the park on October 20th. They wanted to make the housing crisis in the Bible Belt visible. They sustained themselves through bad weather and challenging personal dynamics, and fought back against state intimidation, media antagonism and aggressive legal procedures. Finally they were forced to move on December 20th after the City of Abbotsford got a court injunction to remove them from the park. (…)

anushkaResponding to the government apology for historic wrongs against Chinese British Columbians

Speeches by Sid Chow Tan and Anushka Najii

From November 17, 2013 until January 31, 2014, the BC government held public consultation sessions so that people could express their opinions about the wording of the formal apology that the government plans to give the Chinese Canadian community for historical wrongs. Sid Chow Tan and Anushka Nagji spoke at the session that was held in Vancouver at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver on January 12th. Here’s what they said. (…)