Amid the creeping gentrification that is transforming our neighbourhood and making it even more difficult to live, the ‘mall’ on Hastings that runs from Pigeon Park at Carrall to Main (or Columbia, depending on your opinion) is one of the nerve centres of our community. These are Our Streets.
It is one of the places where we make our own rules and do our thing. Yeah, some of us use drugs, and we buy them on the street. We also meet our friends, go to United we Can, watch the world go by.
What’s crucial is how out of the ordinary this is. I get out of the neighbourhood a couple times a month, and I’m consistently unnerved by the conspicuous lack of people, the lack of conversation, the lack of difference in other parts of Vancouver. It’s kind of creepy. In this painting, I tried to create the atmosphere of the street without the people. As you look at it, I bet your mind and imagination fill in the people. But this is what some people want, all of us in our rooms and not filling the streets with our spirit and beauty. This is what we must fight to prevent, and keep these streets ours.
i was at a meeting and a health authority person said “the numbers are leveling off” and i didnt let myself flinch because i didnt want to leave the room to exhale and i had to say “those numbers are human lives. people. your numbers are of the dead. numbers numb.”
at a different meeting a policeman said “the prevention sites are consistently full, the same,” and i said “you do realize that these are Different people, right? because 600+ people have died in two years in these few blocks.” #DTES
more than that obviously. there are many ways of dying but always of injustice. all these fragile bonds that held us barely together are frayed and torn and arent coming back
and people are throwing each other liferafts and waterwings in a sea of poison. from a boat made of duct tape. and the boat is on fire.
this is a vision of your future which is why you cant bear to look
its an emergency, you know
will you let people die at this unacceptable rate because its better than before? as long as its contained in this place that you can scare the disobedient with? the purpose of structural violence is to enforce structural power – its victims must be visible, and silent
because the rest of you must FEAR
so what will you do?
these are some towns in #bcpoli with by-laws criminalizing poverty – the persecution and hate are real. there is no place to go. down the road and west.
but the numbers are steady here. the demographic is younger.
That down? Its a point of processed synthetic chemicals, designed not for you (not anymore, not this) but for maximum profit. you have no idea what it is.
so you come out of it and not know where you are or how you got there and already feel sick again. Thats the benzo. Its not an opiate. but you were down for hours and you cant even move or remember anything
so now everybody is paying more and more for less actual down, plus that level of psychiatric medication, which you should get for free but instead you might die and no one has any money and no one cares anymore because everyone is chasing it all day all night