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Chronicles of the Olympic Tent Village

by Harsha Walia Dominion Stories


Also posted by Harsha W.:

Also in Housing:

[Written with the memories of Laurie P. in the minds and hearts of many of us at the Olympic Tent Village– Laurie was an active member of the DTES Power of Women Group , a long time member of the Downtown Eastside Women Centre and a deeply loved community member in the DTES. Despite being terminally ill, Laurie sat around the fire many evenings at Tent Village. Laurie passed away on Feb 24, 2010]

This started out as an attempt to update you all about the important developments that have transpired over the past 48-72 hours at the Tent Village. However it is impossible for one person or even a group of people to provide you with a complete picture of what has taken place, what will take place, or how we have arrived here together. So instead, this is a (hasty) letter of sorts; an attempt to document and share with you the birthing of the Village over the past two weeks, with those critical updates buried somewhere in there.

On Feb 15, 2010 the Olympic Tent Village was set up at 58 West Hastings, a site that became an obvious choice for a Tent City when planning for it began in Jan 2010. The site is on an Olympic corridor and thus has high visibility. It is also in the core of the Downtown Eastside and therefore easier for DTES residents to access. Importantly, the empty lot is owned by notorious condo developer Concord Pacific, currently being leased by VANOC as a parking lot for the Olympics.

Concord Pacific is Canada’s largest developer and in 2008 Concord’s proposed “Greenwich” project for the lot was a seven storey condominium building. In 2008, a sustained DTES community campaign - which included community forums, rallies, delegations to City Hall, and actions at Concord Pacific’s Sales Centre - forced the stalling of the Project. The slogan that developed around Concord Pacific was “Stop Concord Pacific’s ‘Discovery’ of the Downtown Eastside”, drawing parallels between the processes of colonization and urban gentrification, both of which disproportionately affect and displace Indigenous people. (Click here for 2008 photos by Blackbird) The lot has since then largely sat empty over the past two years.

The year 2008 onwards saw ongoing organizing against the broader ‘condo tsunami’ as over 1500 market housing – primarily condos – were being built and proposed in and around the DTES. Meanwhile over 1600 units of low-income housing have been lost in the DTES due to closures, rent increases fuelled by Olympic-related real estate speculation, and slow conversions including for tourist use. According to the City’s own reports, market housing is currently being built at a rate of 3 units to every 1 unit of social housing in the DTES. A demand developed in a series of DTES community meetings: “We demand no displacement, no evictions, and a moratorium on condo development.”

On Feb 15 2010, the 58 West Hastings site was secured during a rally No More Empty Talk, No More Empty Lots: Homes Now! attended by hundreds of DTES residents and supporters. Since the Olympic bid, homelessness has nearly tripled in the Greater Vancouver Regional District, while real estate and condominium development in the Downtown Eastside is outpacing social housing. Meanwhile, a heightened police presence has further criminalized those living in extreme material poverty in the poorest postal code in Canada. The rally and tent city were originally envisioned and organized by the Downtown Eastside Power of Women Group, Streams of Justice, and Vancouver Action in close collaboration with other DTES-resident groups and with the endorsement of over 100 organizations. The Tent Village focused on three initial demands: 1. Real action to end homelessness now; 2. End condo development and displacement in the Downtown Eastside; and 3. End discriminatory ticketing, police harassment, and all forms of criminalization of poverty.

For media of the Rally and the Establishment of the Tent Village, watch this video, this video, this video including a response from a City Councillor, this montage, and photos and articles are here.

Based on a call for supporters to defend the site for the first 24-72 hours, the first night brought out hundreds, including DTES residents and homeless people. Over 80 tents – supplied with tarps, sleeping bags and blankets - propped up within a few hours. Dozens of banners and flags adorned the chainlink fences, a sacred fire with sweetgrass and sage was lit by Indigenous Elders, Food Not Bombs prepared our first of dozens of meals under the kitchen tent, Solidarity Notes Labour Choir shared uplifting songs of resistance, the Carnival Band drummed alongside Indigenous warriors, a medic tent emerged stocked with supplies including herbal teas and natural remedies, legal observers lined the perimeter, and a dedicated team of security (including many of out-of-town allies here for the anti-Olympics convergence) started preparing to protect the site overnight from law enforcement and other unwelcome trespassers. Later in the evening, the Stopwar.ca anti-militarization march ended at Tent Village, bringing solidarity from hundreds of anti-war activists. Under pouring rain and heavy police surveillance, the inaugural evening also featured a “Reading Resistance” event with Brad Cran, Vancouver’s 2009-2011 Poet Laureate who refused an invitation to participate in the Cultural Olympiad, along with poets Mercedes Eng, Maxine Gadd, Cynthia Oka, and Dorothy Trujillo Lusk.

A press conference, highlighting the powerful voices of DTES residents and homeless residents of Tent Village, took place the following morning of Feb 16, 2010. Videos are available here and here. For mainstream media articles, click here.

Since then, the Village has truly taken on its name and developed as a critical space of genuine community resistance. Every day and every evening two fires gather dozens of peoples to share stories, food, poetry, song, and conversation. In addition to residents of Tent Village, hundreds of DTES residents drop in for food, for a sanctuary from the street and into a space that is welcoming and free of unnecessary institutional rules and regulations. DTES residents and supporters alike seem to seamlessly and organically take shifts preparing and serving food, doing dishes, cleaning up the site, doing security, and lending an ear and mediating conflict as needed. (Listen to an interview with the incredible Dave Diewert.)

The Tent Village is deeply decentralized, no one person is really in an overall leadership position or understands the totality of the functioning of the Village. While this may seem disorganized and a weakness to some, this structure has really allowed the Village to flourish as individuals step-in and take responsibility for areas and undertake tasks they feel they are most capable for. Decisions that many of us, as original organizers, had made were quickly debated in a series of meetings involving the participation of all those involved in Tent Village in any way. As an example, our media policy was quickly altered from the Village being open to media to no cameras being allowed on-site as concerns about privacy arose within the first 24 hours. A sophisticated media protocol has developed since and is posted on the front gate. Plans to remain on-site were also extended to at least the end of the Olympic Games. Community agreements, under the leadership of DTES Elders and DTES Power to Women group, were drafted. These include: respect for all Tent City residents, no discrimination, a drug and alcohol free site though those who are under the influence are welcomed without judgement, no violence against other residents, and prioritizing decision-making by DTES residents, those who are homeless, and DTES Elders.

Autonomous committees have sprung up including organizing skill shares, a building crew, gardening committee, recycling and Green committee, and a committee to work on a newsletter entitled Tent Village Voice. Just in the past two weeks, two issues of Tent Village Voice have been released to bring forward the stories of Village residents; dozens of structures have been constructed to protect residents from the rain and provide a more comfortable living environment; a garden has sprouted at the entrance; and a series of workshops including guerrilla art, improv theatre, bike building, and knitting have taken place. Several groups and individuals have taken the initiative to organize evening concerts.

I do not mean to romanticize the Tent Village; indeed there has been tension and conflict and disagreement from everything about the role of security to where the fires should be located to what to do when there is a violation of the Community Agreements. However these are natural and expected. What is unique is the process of dialogue, decision-making, and resolution in light of having no hard-and-fast rules, being flexible and sensitive to people’s lived experiences, and collectively relying on the good faith and judgement of each other. All this has facilitated a sense of ownership, entitlement, and commitment to the space and those within it as something beyond yet another service or temporary shelter in the neighbourhood. It is an affirmation of community, offering the possibility of what it means to live together in a self-determined space beyond the immediate bounds of the government and the police. It has been deemed ‘paradise’ and a place where ‘real freedom lives’ by DTES residents of the Village. This is critical, because although our demands as an anti-poverty and housing rights movements tends to focus on having basic needs meet via the welfare-state, we must simultaneously strive to create alternatives to this system and understand that real justice will not from those who are responsible for marginalizing us in the first place.

Much more than mere symbolism, the Olympic Tent Village is a serious blow to the rhetoric of housing, human rights, and compassion that all levels of government have been touting, especially during the Olympics. Despite being an ‘illegal’ squat, it forces a challenge to the state and our society: on notions of land and property ownership; on legality versus morality; on broken promises and having false expectations of our governments; on acceptable and unacceptable forms of protest; on why a police-free zone draws hundreds of DTES residents; and how even a glimmer of freedom and autonomy might turn people to choose living rather than surviving and to fight for justice rather than beg for charity. All these appear to have placed the authorities in the position of not shutting the site down forcibly and instead maintaining a silence on the Olympic Tent Village; indeed what greater embarrassment for Vancouver and Canada during the Olympic Games than - under the gaze of the international media - removing a group of homeless people from an empty lot in the one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the country.

Despite government silence and inaction on the three Tent Village demands, over the past week a more specific and concrete demand was added, calling on the municipal and provincial government as well as BC Housing to immediately provide housing to occupants of the Tent Village who are homeless, under-housed, and precariously housed. At a community meeting, it was decided that the Tent Village would continue at least until the government took action to house the homeless residents of the Village. Over the week, several of us did intake and signed up approximately 50 homeless residents of Tent Village who had decided it was time to put the pressure on for BC Housing to provide them with safe and affordable homes.

A campaign was launched by Vancouver Action calling on supporters to write in to the Mayor, City Councillors as well as the BC Ministry of Housing and Social Development and BC Housing to demand immediate action. Hundreds of letters were sent in, forcing a response from municipal and provincial officials. Predictably, the letters received from several City Councillors as well as BC Housing attempted to shift the blame on Tent Village organizers, stating that we had denied access to BC Housing and City staff on several occasions. It is unclear what we might have done had that actually been the case, but the reality was that no official housing workers ever came to the site. The one exception was that the Vancouver Police Department sent their “Homeless Liason”, escorted by two uniformed police officers, who were promptly asked to leave the site, as per everyone’s desire to ensure that the site was police-free.

In addition, two press conferences, which included supporters from Carnegie Community Action Project, Impact on Communities Coalition, and Pivot Legal Society, drew mainstream media attention, video available here. A Tent-In at BC Housing was staged by Tent Village supporters including representatives from Citywide Housing Coalition and Vancouver Status of Women to increase the pressure to immediately house the 50 individuals.

As a direct result of the grassroots campaign and the popular support for the Tent Village amongst incredibly diverse communities and social justice groups, over 40 homeless Tent Village residents have now been housed in BC Housing units across the Lower Mainland, while others have chosen to return home to their communities. This group includes everyone at the Tent Village who signed up for B.C Housing and who we could track down over the week. Originally offered mere shelter spaces, the group of homeless people worked with Tent City advocates to ensure that all were appropriately housed based on their specific needs, preferences and circumstances, not warehoused in shelters or un-livable single room occupancies.

In the coming days, it is likely that the mainstream media will parrot the government line about how much the government cares about the homeless and how BC Housing has graciously provided people with homes. In light of this, it is imperative to reiterate that these homes - especially apartments not SRO’s - had to be forced out of BC Housing. It also makes obvious how the government absolutely has the resources – including housing units, though certainly not enough for all the homeless in Vancouver – available, it is just not their priority to house the homeless. In this case, government officials were motivated not by good will or good intentions, but the glaring and stark visible reminder of homelessness that the very existence of Olympic Tent Village represents amidst a $7 billion party for the rich.

While not a complete measure of justice as thousands are still homeless on the streets of Vancouver, as hundreds of thousands are forcibly displaced off their land or out of jobs into poverty and substandard housing, and many more try to survive through the death sentence of capitalism and colonization, this is still most definitely an important and concrete victory not only for those who now have these homes, but for all of us. It reinforces the importance of political struggle and pro-active direct action, rather than passivity and reliance on the government, in the face on an unflinching bureaucratic system that perpetuates poverty, misery, corruption, and systemic oppression on a daily basis. (Watch this great video with DTES residents about building the movement)

It is unclear what the coming days bring as there are growing concerns amongst many about capacity, sustainability, and resources; along with a desire to not have the site continue from a place of vulnerability rather than strength as many of the homeless residents leave for their new homes and the number of supporters who are present slowly dwindles. Regardless of if, how, and when it ends, it is clear that the Olympic Tent Village has accomplished so much more than it set out to and has a fostered a very meaningful and uplifting sense of community along with a strong sense of political mobilization.

To the scores of DTES and homeless residents who have become family with the potent combination of constant bickering and unconditional acceptance and compassion; to the Elders keeping the flames of the sacred fires; to the DTES Power of Women Group who command not only mine but so many of ours’ deepest respect; to all members of Streams of Justice, Vancouver Action, DTES Elders Council, Walk 4 Justice, No One Is Illegal, AW@L, 2010 Welcoming Committee, no2010, and the many others who have held down at the Tent Village for more hours than not; to the tireless Food Not Bombs and everyone in the Kitchen Tent who are our foundation; to the phenomenal crew that redeems the word ‘security’ by serving the people and keeping the police out; to all anti-Olympic resisters; to all Indigenous defenders on the front-lines of land defense and anti-gentrification struggles; to all the allies in the DTES Justice for all Network; to the hundreds of endorsing groups and all others who have supported with generous donations; to all independent media especially Vancouver Media Co-op; to all Legal Observer teams; to all the healing medics; to the hundreds of unnamed who have built, sustained, fed, fuelled the Olympic Tent Village and whose time and loving efforts have not gone unnoticed: you bridge fire and sky. You have an undeniable place in my heart and much solidarity and strength in the long struggle ahead.

For more information about the Olympic Tent Village, visit http://olympictentvillage.wordpress.com/

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Comments

Tent City Hypocrites

 I used to support this cause, in fact *all* of the causes you're advocating. That was until you set up tent city literally right outside my window, and witnessed your hypocrisy for myself. 

You come in and set-up wherever you like, set-up security against "trespassers" as if you have more claim to the land than anyone else, and you yell at anyone taking photos to come and ask for "permission" while you do whatever you feel like. Do you expect to be taken seriously? You advocate "freedom" while refusing everyone else's right to use, live in, or enjoy the area.

You claim it's a peaceful protest, and then engage in belligerent acts like throwing cans of paint all over the road and sidewalk in front of my place, hold impromptu soccer games after midnight, beat your drums and sing about resistance, and scream at anyone and everyone who disagrees with you - all while waving video cameras in the face of police for the gross misconduct of protecting someone *else's* rights - at all hours of the morning, every morning. 

Someone once said that Fascism would come disguised as Anti-Fascism, and after bearing witness to the hypocritical joke that is tent city, I see that is exactly what you are. I don't like the Olympics, I don't like Concord Pacific particularly, and I hate the Conservative government, but you're acting in exactly the same manner. So maybe it's time to stop acting like entitled crybabies, sleeping all day and partying all night and be constructive and contribute to society like the rest of us.

Oh, and I will do whatever it takes to ensure you never get what you want.

you are ridiculous

sorry  that we ruined your "condo backyard". because you know, it is so hard to live in an awesome apartment and have to be faced with the reality that is poverty for two weeks.

we set up security to make sure that everyone at the tent village was safe from people who came by everyday to harass us and take pictures of us as if we were animals in a zoo. like i said to people over and over and over again, i don't come into your house and take pictures of you when you are sleeping. the lot may not be "legally" ours, but it is located on unceaded coast salish territories - which means, you my friend and all of us non-aboriginal people are tresspassing here.

we advocate respect and dignity - and this is what you condo dwellers, governments, police, etc. refuse to give us.

i'm sorry for the paint - i guess the value of "your place" will now go down slighlty.

and sorry, but you are upset about a handful of people playing soccer outside your place? what about the hundreds of thousands of drunken fools that have been flooding the streets with their belligerent and discusting nationalism and punching anyone that disagrees with them for the last two weeks?

in terms of contributing to society - we got 40 people house - what did you do last week?

Hypocrites is right

If you think that by being richeous that you are above the law and/or more entitled to do things than other citizens you are wrong.  I too once supported the groups mentioned above but became disenfranchised when people went off the rails with anti-Olympic furor.

Let me also make note that the term "gentrification" as it is used by people within Vancouver's activist community should be more accurately defined as "xenophobism".  You trashed your own neighbourhood and thought that you would keep people out but you were wrong.  Get over yourselves and learn to play nice with others. Everyone is sick of your complaning and bullshit.

"Oh, and I will do whatever

"Oh, and I will do whatever it takes to ensure you never get what you want."

Is your motivation is hatred and petty 5 year old vindictive logic? Is your vocabulary so limited that you have to crutch on profanities. Stand for what you believe in.

The tent village is peaceful and a representation of how others in the community are supporting the homeless to get housing. Even the mayor acknowledges that and supports the cause to end homelessness in the city.

If you have a better way of playing nice with others I urge you to show the way. From what I see in the village is people donating food, cooking meals, washing dishes, supporting each other and drawing attention to the issue in a civil manner.

Why don't you come down for a free meal yourself and get educated. People there don't judge the ignorant, they are open to a perspective to solve the problem. Which is why I assume why you wrote your post.

Moron Hypocrites

Wow, you're a real thinker aren't you. You say everyone has the right to housing, and then piss all over people that have it. Like I said, until you acted like morons I supported the cause. But then, I'm going to work every day so I can afford it, rather than sitting around in a lounge chair partying all day.

And, you sleep in THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET genius, it's a public space, that is why people take photos of you. No one takes photos of me when I sleep because I don't sleep in the damn street.

What part of throwing paint on my doorstep was respectful or dignified? Really, you're a hypocrite. You expect it but don't give it. The police sat by all night (for two weeks) and let you do what you want. What more do you want? You get no respect because you deserve none.

And what part of my post suggests I advocate drunken nationalism? I think they're morons too. So now that I disagree with you and you show me no respect, do I have the right to throw paint at your house and hold a party all night for two weeks straight?

You'd cry like the entitled baby you are if someone attempted to do the same to your precious little shit city.

lucky you, you have a home

lucky you, you have a home and don't have to sleep on the street. but guess what: the many homeless people out there don't have a choice - or a nice cushy yuppie condo to sleep in.

and who is disrespectful now, calling people morons.

get informed before you go off insulting people.

celebrate life by ending poverty and homelessness

A victory for everyone concerned.

As for the people with negative comments above, oh you're killing me, not.

I know for a fact that you make up a tiny fraction of the population. With your terrible spelling and selfish attitudes you're well on your way to receiving a dictionary and an ulcer respectively.

Face facts. We're not going away. We're fighting for a better world and it's a' coming.

Gary Jarvis

Tent City Morons

Gary Jarvis,

Please tell me how throwing paint at my apartment is alleviating poverty? 

Until then get off your high horse. No-one is pro-poverty. Everyone wants it fixed but you're too foolish to realize you're directing it at people just trying to get by, and alienating them in the process.

How about my friends and I come and take a crap on your lawn in the name of saving Darfur? What's the matter, you hate Darfur? Wow, you're selfish.

Hypocrite

  Hi Gary Jarvis,

Please tell me how throwing paint at my apartment is alleviating poverty?

Until then get off your high horse. No-one is pro-poverty, you're too foolish to realize you're directing your protest at everyday people just trying to get by, and alienating them in the process.

Seeing you're such an altruistic guy, you won't mind if my friends and I take a crap on your lawn to save Darfur. What's the matter? You don't want to save Darfur? Don't be so selfish Gary!

ok, so basically this is all

ok, so basically this is all about people throwing paint at your house?

boohoo!

 

WTF - Who's the Enemy?

 I am sorry for the plight of the homeless and displaced. Everyone should have a chance to have a home and should have assistance to get housed when they need it. I draw the line between a handout and a hand up though.  People have to work to get something; there are a few who are deserving exceptions to this rule (i.e. physically or mentally unable to fend for themselves). 

It would be hard to support the various levels of Government's concerted efforts to displace those in the DES who have made it their home.  "Gentrification" is similar to what displaced many in Europe and caused them to flee to North America where they would have an opportunity to make a life for themselves. It is unfortunate that their descendents may be forced out of an area that they've called their own for generations. 

But those who have bought in this area are not the enemy. They are people who have scrimped and saved and worked for years to be able to afford a home, even one in a depressed area like the DES.  But these people deserve respect as they have worked for what they have - if you don't have them on your side, it is a situation where those with nothing (no homes, no jobs, no hopes) are railing against others who have managed to claw themselves up out of the mess. Anyone who takes a drive down Hastings or the DES will usually come away with a sense that the people there are mainly interested in partying, dealing drugs and prostitution - it's not true for everyone, but the overall tolerance of bad behaviour in this area poisons the minds of potential supporters on an ongoing basis.

Setting up a tent city to raise the visibility of the homeless makes a whole lot of sense, as it does force government to pay attention.  Setting up your own rules (party all you want, no police allowed, flaunt health and safety laws, deface the neighbourhood) does nothing but satisfy your egos that you can defy authority, while making life miserable for your neighbours. Raising points like "well this is native land" makes no sense - it's not your land either as we (natives) don't believe in land ownership.  But it's here and it's not going away so live within the community by the community norms as the rest of us don't want anarchy - you won't get support by raising such points. 

Shame on you - you would do far better by being the best neighbours possible - transform the vacant lot into neighbourhood gardens.  Leave a history behind that even those who are homeless or support the homeless can make their communities beautiful, peaceful and productive.  Fight (peacefully) for the help people need to get on their feet and live their lives to the fullest, not for the right to party and get free homes by embarassing your neighourhoods (which is the perception you are giving to many).

Peace to all of you but remember - to have peace, you must first keep the peace! 

 

Thank-you Tent City!

Thank-you for your kind hospitality. Thank-you for giving me the honor of being a part of your family. My daughter helped, as much as she could, when she was here visiting from out-of-town and I watched her baby while she did this so I was not able to visit earlier than yesterday, but I went there as soon as I could because I knew I would get a chance to meet all these wonderful people my daughter spent so much time with and who told me many stories about how dedicated and hard-working and how caring these people were that were there for those people who are not as lucky us many of us and have a roof over their heads, food on the table and bare necessities. Then I remembered when that was me - many years ago when I first came to Vancouver back in the late '60's to mid-70's. I was just starting out and moving from my home to a place where I hoped for a better chance in life. This did not happen right away so I spent many night's wondering if I was going to make it to the next day. I was lucky and ran into some people who cared - people who were called by the so-called "mainstream socity", 'desidents' and 'revolutionaries'. But these people, like you, cared and because they cared, I remembered to care about myself and tried harder and was able to make out okay because I didn't feel alone in my efforts. I have a job now - not the best, but I learn things there and I use this knowledge in a good way and I have a place - not fancy or rich but it's my own little pad where I can have friends over or go hide in my cave when things get too tough and mean out there in "main-steam society". So yes, we are not going to go away. We, who care and have compassion and who do not place judgements on others just because they need a helping hand and encouragement - those of us with Soul and who love Freedom, Dignity and Justice - yes, we are not going to go away. We are not going to cave and become empty shells with no Spirit, no sense of Self and no Reality. So Stay Strong, Stay Solid and Stay You!
ALL MY RELATIONS!!!! Your Sister.

...

Yeah, my place isn't fancy, rich or big either, I'm just getting by too and your friends decided it'd be a great idea to throw paint at it. Let's see how you feel when someone comes and disrespects your little place that you worked hard for. You'll see things differently.

Oh my lord. Let it go

Oh my lord. Let it go already.

Like all the negativity and destructive things that are done in our society they are done by a SMALL percentage of the population, but because we can focus on little else but the negative we tend to make blanket statements and stereotype.

I'm disappointed that you didn't handle the situation in a better manner like going out to TALK to some of these people and letting them know about how you and probably a few others in the area felt about some of the activities that were going on. Instead you let your anger brew and let it negate your willingness to stand up for what you believe in... Well actually if your that easily dissauded then I don't think you believed in it in the first place.

You're going to run into idiots no matter what group you run with. All you can do is make sure you're not one of them.

Tent City, if it really was

Tent City, if it really was for GENUINE homeless people, and not PAID ACTIVISTS would have welcomed addicts and not put up the barrier of "no drugs, no alcohol" at your door. Who the fuck are you to tell anybody what to put in their body? Don't you realize that the reason most people are homeless is BECAUSE of stupid unrealistic rules like the ones you created for your PROTEST CAMP. call it what it was. If you were really serious about providing housing you would have kept the squat going, and fought for it. Instead, when the cameras went away, you took away your own 5 ring circus and went home to your comfortable homes, and left the homeless to the streets. Thanks for using homeless people for your own devices, public messenging, whatever...it sure wasn't for the benefit of the genuinely dispossessed.

you obviously  have no idea

you obviously  have no idea what went on at tent city.

there was a no alcohol and drug use in the space to discourage police from coming in and messing everything up. however, people under the influence were welcomed in the space. and for the record - the community of tent city (made up of DTES residents, homeless people and supporters) came up with this.

also, the decision to leave was made by the community as well.

maybe next time you will actually take part in the community and know what things were like.

Red tent campaign

Beware of Pivot legal society the sponsors of the red tent campaign. The persons/foundations funding this organization have hidden investment objectives. Follow the online trail and you'll discover the truth behind the tides foundation grants that put people out of work and on the streets.

Tent city

So, I guess like most things now days the people who go through the proper channels and wait their fair turn to obtain housing with bc housing now have to wait even longer because the people who jumped the queue have taken all the available units! I guess you just need to have that sense of entitlement that you are that much more special than everybody else!!

Beautiful

As always, well articulated and beautifully written. I think that this dialogue, this tent city will remain important past the immediate moments of the present. You did a phenomenal job summarizing and touching on many moments that I too experienced while on the ground.

Yes, tent city is full of controversy, and I can see how many people would feel a variety of things from all sides of it, whether it be the DTES residents who support it, or the residents who don't for whatever reason, but I think it is still more important than anyone can realize at this moment. PErhaps it is because it was a part of a movement, of my first moments of on the ground efforts for social justice, but I feel changed as an individual, in my theory and practise after being a part of it. While I do feel much guilt as I had to leave at the end of the first week, my support has never faltered. 

Anyway, I just thought I would share that I am feeling quite inspired and that your articulation of events keeps the fire burning inside. Thank you!

And to those who live in the condos overlooking the city, I wish you had come down out of the clouds and engaged in real dialogue with the people of tent city to build some kind of understanding before assuming everyone fit into the same descriptions and maybe engaged in some two way story telling. I am certain some of you did, but this is to those who didn't (to those who yelled from inside of the garage gate at three in the morning, who hung offensive banners and who generally disrespected your neighbours).

much love.

Hypocrisy?

I think that if someone is willing to withdraw support for a cause (anti-poverty, etc) because of the actions of oen person or even one group of people, you were never really onside.

Whatever happened at tent city, to say that you would try to stop anti-poverty advocates from getting what they want means you never really were in support.

 

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