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Friday Sept 30, 2011 at Insite; 6:30am – Be among the first to hear the results of the Supreme Court Ruling in Vancouver Downtown Eastside (DTES)

September 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Join us this Friday, 6:30am, at Insite; Vancouver’s Supervised Injection Site, at 139 East Hastings St. to be among the first to hear the results of the Supreme Court of Canada’s Decision regarding Insite.

Coffee and Muffins will be on-hand, as it will be an early morning. Try to come by on your way to work.

In our neighbourhood, a small but unique project called Insite, exists. It is the result of the incredible efforts of many people in our community and in our City, and in our Province. Many individuals, groups, academics and researchers who have come together and fought for it to exist, and fought for its continued existence, for over a decade now.

This isn’t just about a building or an initiative in the Downtown Eastside. It’s about systemic and National change in our approach to people who suffer from addiction.

This Friday morning, a enormous decision will be announced determining whether or not Insite can stay open, indicating the direction our Country is heading in, in terms of the future for people living with addiction.

On May 12th 2011, the Canadian Supreme Court heard the Federal Government appeal of the previous BC Supreme Court rulings that Insite is protected under section 7 of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as the Province of BC’s constitutional jurisdiction over health care, in supporting this vital primary health care facility.

Up until now, we have said that our country has no room for people struggling with life as an active addict. People who suffer intense pain, who have been branded as criminals, due to the arbitrary distinction made between addictive substances such as alcohol and cigarettes, or cocaine and heroin.

This group of people, to whom we are all connected – are our family members, our friends, and our loved ones and our neighbours. They are currently treated like animals, and can die as a result of being  “thrown out”.

We have collectively told them, that unless you are clean…. Your life does not matter. You will be denied housing and services.  It’s OK if you die of a drug overdose, it’s OK if you get an infectious disease, it’s OK if you live on the street, get beaten up, get HIV or hepatitis C, or go to jail.

This is our humanistic Canadian Society.  For the drug addict, it is anything but humane.

I believe in 30 years we will look back in disbelief at the lack of wisdom we have shown in our policies surrounding some of our Society’s most fragile and sick individuals who are not accessing proper treatment, dignity or care.

Insite is only one very tiny piece of what’s needed to put the puzzle into place, but it is an icon of real systemic change. Insite communicates the message to the drug user that your life is worth saving and that your life is worth living.  That we believe in you as a human being, in spite of the fact that you are injecting drugs into your body.

It is a symbol of hope for our collective humanity.

If Insite wins this Supreme Court ruling we will be sending a message of hope to thousands of people across the country to say that we care about them. We care enough to keep them alive, to bring them in off the streets, to provide them with access to nursing supports, access to treatment and detox, and life saving interventions. Insite saves people’s lives and connects them into a mainstream array of supports and care.

This will be a victory for all of us as Canadians, and it will signal a new direction for our Country, by turning against the simplistic paradigms of the past that have convinced so many that quitting an addiction is just as simple as saying No. Not only has this belief led to enormous suffering, it has misinformed policy, and allowed politicians to avoid making the right decisions. People who live addicted to illicit substances are people.

If we lose this fight, Insite will be none-the-less relevant. We will continue to call upon the Federal Government of this country, who just need to provide a simple letter to keep it open…We will ask our Prime Minister, and our Federal Minister of Health, to grant an exemption for Insite – We will ask that they listen to the millions of dollars worth of scientific evidence, the local experts, the merchants, the doctors, the nurses and the people of Vancouver and British Columbia, including the Premier of British Columbia and the past five Mayors of Vancouver representing every political stripe, to allow Insite’s life saving work to continue.

To quote Dean Wilson, one of the plaintiffs in the original BC Supreme Court case. “Insite will not be closed. Insite, as well as the comprehensive Onsite treatment program that includes the 30 recovery beds on the two floors above Insite, have both saved my life and put me on the path to recovery. There is no way that myself and the thousands of members of my community are going to let the positive impact of this facility end.”

A broad based coalition of community members including church groups, doctors and nurses, local merchants and civic and provincial officials will attempt to contact Stephen Harper to make certain he is aware of the literal life-and-death consequences of the action before him.

In the event that the Supreme Court rule against Insite, “Stephen Harper will have an important choice before him,” said fellow plaintiff Shelly Tomic. “He can choose life – or he can choose death for thousands of Canadians suffering while struggling to overcome their addiction.”

You are welcome to pop by this Friday morning, to await the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, which we will have via a live link.

Liz Evans
Executive Director
PHS Community Services Society

April Smith and Hendrik Beune of AHA MEDIA are very proud to attend SFU – Simon Fraser University’s Literacy Lives: Certificate for Community Capacity Building

September 29, 2011 1 comment

Our Certificate in Community Capacity Building  Skills for Strengthening community health is part of  Literacy Lives: An Integrative Model for Applied Community-based Literacy in inner-city Environments

This pilot program is designed for learners who are passionate about creating positive community change in the area of HIV and community health. Learners will strengthen their essential skills and knowledge about community building while working with a cohort of other community members to choose, design, implement and evaluate a community project. The program’s design recognizes the strength and value of diverse learning styles and experiences, and places an emphasis on experiential and authentic learning opportunities.

Our curriculum for the program is made up of three core pieces:

  1. HIV and social determinants of health;
  2. literacy and essential skills; and
  3. the theory and practice of community capacity building.

Learning will happen within the context of community-based work: learners will identify, plan, implement and evaluate community projects that address key needs in their communities, and that capture something they feel passionate about.

Within the Literacy Lives project, community projects will be focused on HIV and social determinants of health.

The Certificate in Community Capacity Building is a pilot program designed for learners who are passionate about creating positive community change in the area of HIV and community health

We are excited about the following during our University experience!

Learners in the program will:

Make a positive difference in their communities.

Learn more of the essential skills and tools needed to effect positive change.

Learn more about HIV and community health.

Learners who complete the 26-week program will earn a Certificate in Community Capacity Building and become an alumnus of Simon Fraser University.

Hendrik with our AMAZING instructor Jo!

In the next photo and video, Liz Evans of PHS speaks to our class on the history of PHS, and its community capacity building, peer training and skill building, housing, and activism with InSite in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES)

We gratefully thank Frank, our community coordinator and PHS for their support and encouragement while attending this excellent program at SFU! :)

PHS Community Services Society

phs-200x151

PHS Community Services is a non-profit organization providing: transitional housing, supportive housing, 24-hour service, health services, complementary therapy, and harm reduction.

PHS’s mandate is to promote, develop and maintain supportive affordable housing for adult individuals who are hard to house and at risk of homelessness due to their physical and/or mental health, behaviour, substance dependencies, and forensic history.

AHA MEDIA at Nokia Tweetup for Social Media Week Vancouver 2011

September 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Nokia sponsored a wonderful time for us at Cinema Restaurant in Vancouver for Social Media Week Vancouver 2011

Tom Hall and Kathy Garfield welcomed us warmly to our fun filled evening!   Connecting with old friends like Daniel of Nokia Love blog and Shane Gibson made our time extra special!

Highlight of the evening was when our dear friend Miraj Khaled was the lucky winner of a fabulous Nokia N8 for being the eighth person to arrive at our tweetup!

Nokia truly connects people! We had a very memorable evening socializing with our friends :)

Thanks Nokia for sponsoring such a wonderful event during Social Media Week 2011 in Vancouver!

April, Peter and Hendrik of AHA MEDIA

April and Tom sharing smiles!

Lovely Nokia swag!

Nokia C7 and X7 smartphones

April livestreaming on a N97 mini

Kathy and her N8

April’s N97 mini with Kathy’s N8

Hendrik sampling delicious food

Daniel of Nokia Love blog with April

Daniel trying on Nokia BH-905 Bluetooth headphones

Jon Ornoy of With Glowing Hearts chat with Tom

 April and a new C7

Tom taking a photo on his N8

Miraj is the lucky winner of a New N8!  Congrads Miraj!

Miraj unboxing his new N8!

Miraj with Kathy

Happiness is a Nokia smartphone according to Miraj and April

Lucky winner of a I ♥ N8 t-shirt

Beautiful Nokia C7 and X7 smartphones!

Richard of AHA MEDIA with Shane Gibson

Cheers to Nokia and Social Media Week 2011

Opening of W2 Media Cafe in Vancouver Downtown Eastside (DTES) on Wed Sept 21, 2011

September 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Sid Tan of W2TV writes:

September 21, 2011 is a memorable day. A diverse gathering celebrated the official opening of W2 Media Cafe and the Concrete Park music and break dance sessions.

Many thanks for entertainment to The Hastings Set who provided the music and the Hip Hop and B-Boys breakdancers. Also many thanks to the W2 volunteers, board and staff.

Mayor Gregor Robertson cut the ribbon. Also in attendance were  Councillors Ellen Woodsworth, Heather Deal and Andrea Reimer, developer Ian Gillespie and architect Gregory Henriqez. First Nation welcome by ethnobotanist/media artist Cease Wyss while Magnus Thyvold represented the W2 board while Irwin Oostindie was MC.

Below is a video by Sid Tan

Below are videos and photos from AHA MEDIA

With Glowing Hearts – The Movie Theatrical Screening in Vancouver – Sat Sept 24 7pm

September 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Time
24 September · 19:00 – 22:00

Location
SFU Woodward’s
149 W Hastings

Vancouver, British Columbia

Created by:
Jon Ornoy, Andrew Lavigne

More info
It’s the WGH cross-Canada screening series! Here’s your chance to see our little movie up on the big screen in a city near you. Each show will be preceded by a photo display in the the theatre lobby from photographer Kris Krug. After the film stick around for a Q+A with producer Jon Ornoy. Tickets on sale now online (wghvancouver.eventbrite.com), or at the door.

You can watch the trailer at youtube.com/wghthemovie

The social network is replacing the broadcast network as the place where the world gets its news. From the Ukraine to the Mid East and everywhere in between, people are turning on to new ways of tuning in, and joining this emerging media democracy. With Glowing Hearts is a film about Social Media in action; its power to represent, inspire and break down the digital divide.

In February 2010, the Winter Olympics stormed through Vancouver, along with 5,000 international media assigned to cover the Games. At these Games, record numbers of residents, activists and fans used their blogs, video-streaming cellphones and the Internet to connect, engage and tell the story like never before. Centered on an unlikely initiative coming out of the city’s most impoverished and maligned neighborhood to create the Games’ first dedicated Social Media center, the film offers viewers an exclusive glimpse into a potent melding of technology, activism and passion

Below is a photo of Jon Ornoy, Andrew Lavigne, Garvin Snider, April Smith and Irwin Oostindie

Portland Community Dental Clinic’s 10th Anniversary Party in Vancouver Downtown Eastside (DTES)

September 23, 2011 2 comments

10th Anniversary Party on Friday September 16th was a success!

12-3PM, Outside the Clinic at 360 Columbia Street

FREE Hot lunch served! Everyone welcome!

Live Music: Rich Hope and the Evil Doers
March Hare
Dalannah Gail Bowen & the Straight Up

FREE On-the-Spot Cancer Screening
HIV Testing
Dental Consultations
Appointment Booking

Alley Health Fair 2011 on 100 Block Hastings in Vancouver Downtown Eastside (DTES)

September 21, 2011 Leave a comment

A celebration of healthy living and nutrition in the Downtown Eastside, from hair cuts to HIV testing, from blood pressure to pedal-powered smoothies

The Alley Health Fair wants to increase awareness of healthy living possibilities among DTES residents. Be sure to visit them on Thursday, Sept 15 10AM-2PM

Alley Health Fair

100 Block East Hastings

Food, Acupuncture,  Massage, Smoothies, Giveaways, Health Info and Testing!

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