I will do a longer post in the near future but, suffice it to say I appreciated that Jenifer Breakspear, the new ED just hired in the recent shuffle that took place at PHS, was able to meet with me this past Tuesday for a good chunk of undivided attention and time. I know that SIC Society has tried numerous attempts to be heard by PHS and in my view, was coopted by management, I expressed my work experience over 20 years in the field and, well, shared how I was blown away by how management created favouritism at the door in allowing some community members to come in without need of ID while others like myself were asked constantly. Professionals like Bernie Pauly was not always asked, police are never asked for their badge numbers, I noticed that, even though PHS said fire safety was the reason, they were not counting all people in and out. They seemed more concerned with surveillance than safety, as I have shared in many posts in this blog. Not to mention the numerous films of “thaw victoria” and VIMEO THAW Advocacy WAtch.
It was clear to me and others the reason for this was surveillance based on criminalisation of harm reduction users, still!
That needs to change as it is a human right to have free association. PHS back in the day did an amasing thing by giving the right to shelter to those who were not given that right, however, I believe Jamie Graham and the VPD intervened and ensured this policy be set in place so that the VPD can criminalise citizens even in their homes! They gave up one right for another and were too deep in the need for shelter to really take that one on, I get it. We learn and move forward.
I believe that we ought to all take advantage of this time, since SIC Society and many other residents locally and on mainland want this policy to stop in all BC Housing buildings, and lets organise more together. More and more we #UniteTheFight
To stop coopting the people’s movement which is trying to lead itself out of oppressive society which constantly stigmatizes and criminalizes at a time in which right wing bigots try to amass power just down south and, even east as in Toronto, also Vancouver, not to mention an attempt here in Victoria with the racist Sons of Odin going out to “feed homeless and protect Canadians”.
Now is the time to make moves toward social justice: human rights must be supported for all Canadian citizen citizens on these colonially conquered First Nations territories, as well as First Nations territories which have remained self governing.
To get back on focus, I appreciated learning a little bit about who Jennifer is, with a hirstory as a paramedic, and a lot of education as well in Ottawa, she is pre Phd, her interest’s were in policy and human rights, she can fill in deets. All of these skills can help for what is needed at PHS! Good choice! I hope she gets the support she will need from within and from all of us as far as “what direction do we as PHS Residents want to go” under BC Housing umbrella?
A big shift is needed and I beleive she can help get it going. Its an opportunity I say, lets grab on to it and run with it, well, push! The time is now for PHS residents and BC Housing residents on mainland and the island to stand up and make our voices heard and help Jennifer know where community want to go, what you want to do, want needs changing and what is working and how we can get there. SIC Society is trying to get advocacy training to help deal with things like forced medications and forced meds, wanting to change meds but not being allowed, SIC Society and other residents asked for peer advocacy training to help neighbours and be witness for each other, I was jsut thinking might be nice if PHS actually helped support the residents to organise and help lead in workshop planing with PHS help, rather than PHS taking and co opting the idea as they have with other ideas/programs.
I really appreciated that she gave me the time and hear me out about, I am a bit on the radical activist side, and, wanted to share SIC Society proactive ideas regarding issues going on at PHS. Public Bathroom’s being an issue, still!
We do not want to feed into any social stigma any more. We can do this, together and with help, #UniteTheFight!