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The Downtown Eastside Power of Women Group Presents “In Our Own Voices” Writing Project!

by DTES Power of Women Group

The Downtown Eastside Power of Women Group Presents “In Our Own Voices” Writing Project!

The Downtown Eastside Power of Women Group is launching the In Our Own Voices writing project in June 2011. After a six-week period of intensive writing, we are ready to share our stories about hope, struggle, love and resistance in the Downtown Eastside.

During the month of June 2011, you will find twelve exclusive stories from In Our Own Voices on the Vancouver Media Co-op. A new story will be posted every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday starting on June 6th. Week one will feature the journeys that have brought women to the Downtown Eastside, week two will draw attention to child apprehension and violence against women, week three will explore daily life – from working the street to police brutality - on skid row, and week four will highlight ongoing issues of homelessness and poverty in our neighbourhood.

The stories will be available here:

In Our Own Voices includes writings by B, Charlene, Courtney, Debbie V, Diane, Joan Morelli, Karen Lahey, Madeline A, Pat, Pearly May, Shurli Chan, and Stella August. The project is facilitated by Harsha Walia and edited by Harsha Walia, Nassim Elbardouh, and Dawn Paley.

Support for In Our Own Voices

“The stories of the Downtown Eastside must be told and who better to tell them than the women of the DTES - the incredible beauty of the area must be revealed in the writing of these women.”

– LEE MARACLE, acclaimed author of Ravensong, I am Woman, Bobbi Lee-Indian Rebel, and Bentbox.

"The publication of these voices is vital, as we enter into yet another phase of capitalist austerity, poor-bashing, and victim-blaming. Speaking, witnessing, and storytelling are perhaps the strongest tools we have to resist a system meant to keep most people weak and passive. These voices from the Power of Women Group are resistance in action. Heed them. The path to freedom starts here."

- WAYDE COMPTON, author of After Canaan, Performance Bond, Bluesprint, and 49th Parallel Psalm.

“Courageous and honest, the Downtown Eastside Power of Women Group shares hard stories of survival. Voicing their experiences, these women keep alive the possibility of justice and love in community. Listen, tremble, and learn.”

- RITA WONG, award-winning author of sybil unrest, forage, and monkeypuzzle

About the Downtown Eastside Power of Women Group:

We are a trans-inclusive group of women who live in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories, the poorest off-reserve postal code in Canada. We are or have been homeless; living in shelters and on the streets. Many of us are single mothers or have had our children apprehended due to poverty; most of us have chronic physical or mental health issues; many have drug or alcohol addictions; and a majority have experienced sexual violence and mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional abuse.  For Indigenous women, we are affected by the racist legacy of residential schools. We are from all walks of life, surviving in extreme poverty and building a family with each other.

For more information about the DTES Power of Women Group:

DTES Power of Women Group on Facebook.

Email: or Phone: 604 681 8480 x 234

Some of what we have been doing recently:

A short film Survival, Strength, Sisterhood: Power of Women in the Downtown Eastside.

Campaign for No More Stolen Sisters: Safe Shelters, Safe Housing, Safe Services which has recently forced the provincial government to commit funding to a 24-hour low barrier shelter for women!

Power of Women: Building Change at the Grassroots, featured on

The DTES Power of Women Group Believes:

1. Safe, supported, and long-term affordable housing should be available immediately. This housing should be controlled, maintained, and directed by residents of the DTES.

2. Women who are survivors of violence, especially those with children, should be given high priority for affordable housing.

3. No housing units, including supportive housing and special-needs residential facilities, should be exempt from the Residential Tenancy Act.

4. Rent controls as well as price controls on foods and other basic necessities.

5. No condominium development in the DTES and an immediate moratorium on conversions of low-income housing into tourist, student, or market rental housing. No one should be forcibly evicted or displaced from their homes due to gentrification.

6. An end to police ticketing and violence.

7. All women should have access to subsidized childcare instead of apprehending children due to poverty.

8. A community-driven and independent provincial public inquiry into the missing and murdered women should be established immediately. 

9. Social assistance rates should be increased by 40 percent, and barriers to accessing assistance should be removed.

10. All levels of government should implement a living wage of at least $16 per hour.

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Downtown Eastside Power of Women Group:

Power to you in the Spirit of the power of all women.  Member of The Tobique Women's Group.   Shirley M Bear

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