This will be a short post as I am of course in a flare up after such activity over four days! It was an amasing Protest! A very healing experience also followed, very rewarding.
This is a short teaser about what happened after Protest.
Many met with Tim Richter the next am, and that is sweet! After the protest, there was much to discus
Tim Richter ended up having two meetings, first with other Lived Experience Scholars involved from last year and this year in presenting, they had his/herstory and needed to give feedback; second meeting just after luncheon with myself who bottom lined asking Leah Martin, Emily, Trudy Norman, and Bernie Pauly in order for me, as an anarcho feminist lived experience anti poverty activist, to give respectful forward moving feedback regarding the lack of preparation in terms of welcoming the protestors at the hotel ( I had many folks offer to help and found Tim and delivered messages, indeed they showed such ally solidarity/ unity and it must have been interesting for Tim to receive all those messages! Good work community! Good work Tim, you received and handled it well). With hindsight since our meeting, I realized local Lived Experience, Agency’s and Activist’s can smooth out these communication wrinkles, we too could have been prepared therefore we accept that and move forward. We learn and move forward because we have to, no time but to learn and move forward.
We had a local grass roots group called Social Housing Alliance, which holds meeting and leaflets the homeless where they are to inform them of open meetings they hold, come and protest with Lived Experience outsiders. We had lived experience Insiders and lived experience outsiders of conference. The protest demanded action on building social housing, that enough study’s have been done and called out the general community on the elitist hotel and cost of the conference. This grass roots Social Housing movement is not connected to any agency nor gets government funding.
I will write more in depth and, suffice it to say, it was rewarding.
I was able to “call Tim Richter out”. That is street language for holding him accountable and we had a great meeting, we now move forward. Lots to do, lots of people doing it and we are now communicating, so, sweet! Good work all of us, what a team!
It took me a bit longer to arrange the meet up with him, we would all learn about “taking on what is perceived to be the least difficult conflict” is common. I also made that part of the feedback, since we had just learned in a workshop about how to work with peers, do not always go with who seems the easiest to deal with. However, as it turned out, it all worked out for the best as, it made sense in this case to get together first with Lived experience and they had a full empowering session with the time they needed, details coming.
I was new, directly in contact with protestors and know many of them over many years, I asked Leah Martin, Trudy Norman, Bernie Pauly and Emily to attend the feedback meeting I needed to have after hearing from so many, I had additions as well. New great ideas from many folks, it was like I was in heaven in this exciting role of mediator and ambassador!
I met with Tim Richter to give critical feedback and it went very well indeed. I was able to let Tim know my feedback as well as others feedback I had spoken with since the protest, and I was direct, he responded well and we are making plans for next year Montreal already.
Not only did it go well in the meeting but, I asked him how he felt about me letting folks know at closing how well it went? He did and I very much appreciated it, some were shocked!
I’ll share more later, suffice it to say I was happy that a lot of folks came up afterwards and thanked me for representing and wanting to get involved as well as help with Montreal.
Bernie and Trudy gave great examples of how activist’s, agency’s and organizer’s can strategies with protestors as they had at a Drug Policy conference before.
I met new friends who were lived experience scholars from this and last year as well as meeting new friends who were housed, work jobs and want as much as I to affect change. I met managers of programs whose lives years ago and to this day were affected by a close family’s heroin addiction, which brought them to DTES.
I met a fellow video artist who did shorts on those who came forward, asking us what it was like on streets and what it is like now. I did one as well, he did a great job on all of them, and he promises that they will go up on their web site soon. These shorts were then played just before one of the main speakers thus giving us an audience.
I met folks who are tired of literally having lives fall through their fingertips generation after generation as they work front lines and are now at the end of their ropes. What do I say? It means change is here, its not coming, we are it!
Nelson Mandela stated we are the ones we have been waiting for.
Little did many know how much that directly related to their own so called “free privileged lives”. Privileges are merely power taken from others creating an upwardly mobile middle class and a worsened poverty class.
I want to share how empowered I was.
Folks are waking up and wanting change so bad that its inevitable at this point. Yes, we all have our issues. We do. Lived experience know, I know that deep down we all know how fucked up we all really are. There in is our unity my friends!
Many others are just finding out what it means to de colonise. It means we have to be woken up out of our stupor to a reality of systemic oppressions whereby so called privelege’s are mere carrots dangling Socially we struggle, all of us, WHY WHY WHY is often in our vocabulary. Divide and Rule colonialism is what we are born into and, the sooner we grasp the difficult to grasp system which oppresses us, the sooner we will be able to unravel and make sense of power.
This land, like many others, had a rich set of lived experience stories before colonialism hits its shores and conquered to submission first nations across their territories. Colonial empire was ingrained and knew how to conquer by the time it reached these shores. English colonialist’s learned from the Spanish Americans learned form English and so on.
I highly recommend reading the book Orenda! I am doing so now.
I go off on tangents and that’s ok.
I met some folks I cannot get out of my head:
“waterloo aka Suzie Q and her man Jack, Janis, Tim, the fellow from Winnipeg who was in a walker and allways on his way to somewhere, Darrell, the other two women I chatted with who did a video that was played before main speakers. One older one younger!
By the way, those video’s, I did one, they are up on their web site soon!
Emily who is an incredible ally (and there were lots around) Emily really lives in her heart, the folks from Calgary who gave me a red t’shirt, all the dykes and queers whom I was so desperate to meet. I came from hard-core feminist background when anti oppression was formed by women of color. I met folks from Montreal whose names I cannot remember but you know who you are! Wow, thanks for the great chat on your way home in lobby! Lets definitely connect!
Hey Calgary, I was hyped a bit eh? The bar session was the best! Waterloo and I had such a great time, you two rock the socks of hawks!
You think I am hyped now. You should have seen me in the south villa half way house in the 1980’s!
I have to go as battery is dying, I don’t get battery charger back till after wed. next week, I left it at conference!
Take care and in the spirit of solidarity and knowing
we all have a place in production…
kym hothead hines
Below are some photo’s of an Art Piece I did. Art Walls taped together and worn by me or, able to stand by itslef, I did this in order to share our Ideas from our Committee To End Homelessness Victoria and Social Housing Alliance BC.