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.
J grew up in central america and saw the kind of stuff some people never recover from. I know I wouldn't. Anyone who's read the book The War of Don Emanuel's Nether Parts by Louis de Bernieres will know what I'm talking about.
J's family was able to immigrate (legally) to Canada, but he never took. He was on the streets.
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.
I was thrilled to read Sarah's post about the news that Insite will stay open for the next 18 months. Compared to the prospects that it might be closed altogether, that's progress.
But the decision smacks of politics. That 18-month window coincides a little too neatly with the likely window for the next election, and it's not too hard to conclude the Conservatives just wanted to push the issue aside until the vote is safely out of the way. This is, after all, the government that refused to make any announcements during the International Conference on AIDS, saying the environment was "too politicized"... which is another way of saying too many people were paying attention.
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.)