i’ve had to make this point several times in the last few years when speaking to council.
it would be great if nobody has to do this in the future. i’d like that. if i don’t have to point this out, that would indicate to me that we’ve made a significant change
“Harm reduction is the radical notion that drug users are people.” – seen on a t-shirt at #HarmRed18
— Brave Co-op (@gordonwcasey) October 19, 2018
if we refused to wait until the obituary before acknowledging that people have inherent dignity, worth, humanity, all that
if the motivating impulse is resentment, the consequences can never be productive. it seems to me that this is a big reason why the #DTES is so utterly messed up. an endless spiral of resentment & blame & regret, such fierce desire for a past that never was
we’re at a point in our history where people regularly attribute homelessness, poverty, illness, death, climate change, the cost of milk, the canucks lost again, gentrification, to an ever-present and all-powerful 𝗧𝗵𝗲𝗺, or
i have it on pretty solid authority PLUS i read it in a book AND i heard from that guy at the park that when people are elected to civic office they do not in fact become ℳagic. i think that is the opposite of democratic representation actually, just as blaming Them
[sorry there was an alarming sound in the hall and somehow when i got back, the internet went out. i think it’s time to move]
blaming Them, incomprehensible Them, is to deny your own power in this world, it is saying this isn’t your history and the future can’t be yours too
or as it’s constantly said in the downtown eastside, “That’s just how it is down here”
but i have to say that i have seen people who’ve been invisibled claim their right to change the world and trust me when you feel it there’s no need to shout
[you notice how drug users habitually mumble, talk into their chest, sentences trailing to silence? they have lots to say, they’re just used to not being listened to]
but a few hours before the polls open – after over 20 years of drug users negotiating some access to elected representatives which has resulted in Insite & a entire neighbourhood embedded (+/-) with #harmReduction services. and Ideas
but in the spring of 2016 those ideas, those ideas were frozen in time. the world had changed the neighbourhood felt – it was a siege a constant – and escalating – crisis
today is Day 920 of a public health emergency #bcpoli
eight months passed after that emergency was declared before the province sanctioned Overdose Prevention sites. hundreds of people were dead. that fall it rained and rained. @sarahblyth opened a tent in the alley so when you went down there were people thereto bring you back
that first breath when they suck back the air like it’s the first time thats the most amazing sound i’ll never be tired of that sound but i have to tell you i need to tell someone i’m so tired
tracey and i were going to city meetings, the mental health & addictions task force, catching shit for it too. there was the big tent day when 300 people had narcan training, which was paid for somehow from the .5% “fentanyl tax” – that was december 2016 and as i recall, not popular
yeah, i got the date right. dec 13, the following week. the radical militant take: the Evil City Used You All! when i asked them to explain, i asked, “how did they use us to have a public event (which we suggested) to do what we wanted, on our terms, to get the $ that you keep Demanding, that you say will help? please explain this to me.” nobody did. BUT i guess i suck at politics
Vancouver approves 0.5% property tax hike to fight overdose crisis | CBC News
The tax increase will mean an extra $4 for condo owners, $11 for single family homeowners and $19 for the average commercial property.
something shifted. @sarahblyth hadn’t given up and she was tweeting constantly and probably calling the ministry of health often. lots of people were on it, but she turned this into civil disobedience,
Saving Users’ Lives is a Political Act Because Our Humanity is Worth Personal Sacrifice and Risk
Please Acknowledge the Humanness We Have in Common While I Am Alive
i just realized that earlier the same fall i organized a show at gachet (last one, turns out). i had the one thing in it, Fortress of Solitude
that .5% was spent – in not the most helpful ways, i thought. the language was “mitigate the damage” — ie assume the damage as a fact. and more people died. rage and powerlessness is a terrible combination.
sometime early february? sounds about right
i started noticing a terrible thing happening.
at first it was a look. an expression of surprise.
people started giving each other up for dead
and giving themselves to
the pursuit of oblivion
then it all got worse
(it got worse from running into someone you hadn’t seen in two weeks and one person would say “oh i figured you had died” from that it got worse)
vancouver was the north american urban centre best equipped for this it is a true fact that is a true fact you can trust me, i have historical training
look what happened
is there anything we can do? anything? it was july 26 2017. karen what can we do?
said the mayor to the crackhead
right now today, #SafeSupply. all substances. multiple points of access. and by #Decriminalize – i don’t mean the thing, the “drug”
we can decriminalize people.
this does require a shift in thinking.
and is analogous to the aids crisis. the shift came when ‘victims’ became people.
the crisis is not the drug. the crisis is a social need to sacrifice individuals who exhibit the consequences of social cruelty.
but there is no Them
and there’s no cavalry and no magic and also no mystery
how please tell me how does it help to blame Them?
stop angrily demanding what They can’t give
learn from sarah; build new structures – break with the past
look, the thing is everybody uses drugs
and this seems the time to say what seems obvious —
harm is reduced the moment a user comes out.
Gᴇɴᴛʟᴇɴᴇss ɪs ɴᴏᴛ ᴡᴇᴀᴋɴᴇss.
Aʀʀᴏɢᴀɴᴄᴇ ɪs ɴᴏᴛ sᴛʀᴇɴɢᴛʜ.
Jᴜsᴛɪᴄᴇ ɪs ʟᴏᴠᴇ. *
if we choose to become visible we might see each other clearly
acknowledge each other. and the harm. and listen close
there’s no They
it’s Just Us