Victoria has patiently been waiting for alternative choices
to twelve-step and faith based recovery meetings for a long time and recently
LifeRing meetings have started in Victoria and Langford. There are now three meetings going with more under construction.
It got tired of doing nothing, of thinking that the problem was too big, that I couldn't do anyhting to make a difference, and I just started, took a stepforward, connected with other like minded people and it flowed from there. It's funny when you realize how much helping others helps yourself, in ways you would never imagine ;)
Consider the words of that famous businessman Jacob Marley “Mankind was my business”. In choosing to pursue the premiership of British Columbia you made the health and welfare of these citizens “your business” and your “business” is failing badly due to your neglect, fear and unwillingness to provide needed leadership. These issues may not be pleasant, easy to address, popular or without great challenge.
right now, willy pickton is on trial for killing dozens of sex trade workers. many of them were addicted to drugs, mentally ill, abused and poor. many of them were of aboriginal ancestry. and there are many more, right here, right now, in the downtown eastside and many other places.
people need to realize that these women are our sisters, and that they deserve our respect, help and care. among themselves, as much as they can, they show each other support in ways that are dedicated and compassionate. but that's not enough. we need to participate.
Thanks to the person who blogs here about not being a 'sidewalk observer' but being involved in what you see around you, I've been more active in a number of areas. This morning I awoke to particularly peculiar vocalizations outside. An overweight woman was either doing the funky chicken or off her meds, and was writhing around on the sidewalk. She'd pull her pants half way down then up, and her arms were flailing about. Clearly she was not in her right mind, and while not in distress per se, was rather miserable.
As gastown evolves, we could model how those of us with money and homes can integrate with the marginalized in a way that is respectful, humane and does not prejudice people who are homeless and addicted.
I've had the chance to write about a lot of public policy initiatives. But few have given me more satisfaction than Vancouver's four pillars strategy, especially the safe injection site.
On one level, it's the sheer impact that the site has had in saving lives among a population that has little voice and less influence at City Hall, the Legislature and Parliament Hill.
And on another level, the entire initiative said so much about our willingness to embrace creative solutions that break out of preconceptions in the name of just working. The drive towards this came from some of the most marginalized people in Vancouver, yet was embraced by a mayor from the NPA, and then enacted by a former cop. The initial wave of understandable fear gave way to strong community support, with one of the strongest opponents running in the last municipal election on behalf of Larry Campbell's Vision Vancouver team. (And following Sarah's example of full disclosure, I wrote several speeches for Mayor Campbell and one for Vision in the last campaign.)