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Panel Discussion of late artist James Cumming’s Mural of 100 years History of Vancouver Downtown Eastside (DTES) at Vancouver Public Library

July 3, 2011 Leave a comment

“Your Story, My Story, Our Story”

A 100 year history of the DTES by artist and community member James Cumming!

James Cumming has been working for the past 7 years on completing his epic undertaking, a 78 square foot mural, “your story, my story, ourstory”. The mural is a visual narrative of the history of the DTES in

Vancouver from 1903-2003 and will hang in the atrium of the Vancouver Public Library Central Branch from July 1-14, 2011.

James’ wish is that the mural will engage viewers in remembering their role in the history of our city and encourage them to share their stories with their children and friends; it is an educational piece as

well as a 100 year retrospective on the rich history of the DTES community. Sadly James passed away earlier this year before he had a chance to share his life’s work.

Celebrate James Cumming’s life though his artwork and share it with the community he was so proud to be a part of. Please help us in fulfilling his dream of sharing “Your Story, My Story, Our Story” with

the city of Vancouver for generations to come. Our goal is to have this mural displayed next at the Vancouver Art Gallery before securing a home for it in the Vancouver DTES.

1. Carnegie 1903: The library is born

2. Potlatch 1905: This young native man is being sent into the racist hell of the BC penitentiary for the crime of participating in the Potlatch ceremony.

3. Anti Asian Riot 1907: First, an angry mob attacked Chinatown, then turned its anger and hate on Japantown where the Japanese fought back and won.

4. Salvation Army 1910: This Christian organization has been and remains to this day, an integral part of the DTES community.

5. War 1914: It is my contention, in this panel, that if the truth about the war had been made known on the front page on the first day of the war, no one would have gone.

6. Only Yesterday 1916: GAS

7. Vimy Ridge 1917: Our people fighting and giving their lives for our freedom.

8. Brothers 1918: Thank God its finally over.

9. Army and Navy 1919: The Army and Navy army surplus store opens its doors for the first time at its present location.

10. The Market Crashes 1929: Unemployment and Suicide; the nightmare begins.

11. Shot and Forgotten 1932: A hobo, shot in the back for the crime riding in on of the railroad’s boxcars.

12. Hard Times 1933: The land blows away on the prairies and a migration to pick apples in BC begins.

13. Hallelujah, I’m a bum 1934: It’s going to be one hell of a long ride atop the freight train, alongside the Fraser River, the engine fires burning on ahead.

14. Strike at the Carnegie 1935: Strikers camped out on the roof of the Carnegie Center; food was hauled up by them in baskets.

15. March on Ottawa 1935: Police riots in Regina, 17 men killed.

16. Hitler 1939: He screamed “war” and the door to hell opened.

17. Bushito 1941: The code of the Samurai. You do not surrender. To surrender is unacceptable. You save the last bullet for yourself.

18. One Suitcase 1942: The Japanese were rounded up and sent to internment camps such as Kaslo, in the interior of BC for the duration of the war. No boats and no property allowed, only what you could fit in a suitcase.

19. Liberation 1944: The Normandy invasion – and the war to liberate Europe begins.

20. Bunker 1945: Not the year, not the month, not the day, not the hour, not the minute, not the second, but the exact moment of Hitler’s suicide.

21. Hiroshima 1945: 8:15am, August the 6th, 120,000 people vaporized.

22. Smilin’ Buddha Cabaret 1953: A night on the town (Hastings street) and a walk over to Pender street for some Chinese food.

23. Royale Cafe 1955: One of the few restaurants where you could go for Chinese food, a cup of coffee, and a slice of apple pie (Pender Street).

24. Pigeon Park 1957: In the morning – some of the people feeling good. Some of the people feeling God-awful.

25. Another Saturday Night 1960: Same old thing, Another Saturday night coming to its logical conclusion on Hastings street.

26. Chinese New Year 1963: In this panel, the words Happy New Year appear in Chinese between exploding firecrackers.

27. Bob Busted 1967: Born with flowers in her hair, love in her heart, and revolution in her hands, Sharon Kravitz holds an edition of the Georgia Straight depicting my brother, Bob Cumming, being busted for contravening the obscenity laws of the time. Bob was the assistant editor and chief editorialist of the Georgia Straight.

28. Lux Theater 1968: The sidewalk was BC collateral, The White Lunch, The Lux Theater, The Furniture Spot, and The Dobson Hotel. The Lux was ripped out and lay as a vacant spot for years before becoming what is

now the Lux Hotel.

29. Save the Whales 1971: Greenpeace was born.

30. Ambulance 1973: Sadly, an all too common necessity in the DTES.

31. Re-Awakening 1975: Re-awakening of a spiritual and cultural heritage. Raven and drum in the longhouse of the people.

32. Shopping Carts 1977: Shopping carts as modus operandi (2 panels).

33. The Alley 1983: Me with the bottle – Michelle with the needle; in our hideout the alley.

34. Dead in the Street 1985: Another bad night for the police on the streets of the DTES.

35. The Sisters 1988: A bowl of soup – A sandwich – A helping hand. The Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement.

36. Getting By 1990: Me and Mark dumpster diving (2 panels)

37. United We Can 1995: Life’s a lineup when you are poor (the Bottle Depot) (2 panels).

38. Crab Park 1995: An oasis in the midst of the madhouse.

39. The Dragon 1996: Cocaine, Heroin; the victims.

40. Rain Vancouver – Wind Vancouver 1997: These drawings in winter represent the Carnegie, facing the storm and Hastings and Main for the last one hundred years.

41. The Woodwards Squat 1998: The signs read: This is the end of the Liberals in BC; Homelessness is a crime against all the people.

42. Lost Friends 1999: Oppenheimer Park, Remembering our lost friends and missing women.

43. The Kiss 2000: Getting ready for another night’s work.

44. Leave us alone 2001: We didn’t leave all of you for nothing – Crack Cocaine.

45. The End 2002: Nobody wants you when the diseases are obvious.

46. Heart of the City Parade 2003: A culmination of festivities celebrating Carnegie’s one hundredth anniversary (2 panels)

47: The Reaching Hand; The Cigarette Butt: The hand reaches through the entire mural; the 100 year stretch depicting the poverty that inflicts the DTES.

To the Media, Government Officials, Community Leaders and Members,

We need your help to get us as much coverage ad support for this important cultural piece! Our goal is to have this mural displayed next at the Vancouver Art Gallery before securing a permanent home for it in Vancouver’s DTES.

Please help us in fulfilling James Cumming’s dream of sharing “Your Story, My Story, Our Story” with the Vancouver community for generations to come!

AHA MEDIA welcomes David Murray, Community Advocate for Social Justice back home in Vancouver Downtown Eastside

June 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Recently David Murray went on the 75 Anniversary of the On to Ottawa Trek where he spoke about the Red Tents Campaign to Parliament Hill in Ottawa

David Murray is now home in the Vancouver Downtown Eastside where he is sharing his many exciting experiences and memories.  Among his favorite memories was meeting the folks of ADDICQ ( Association for Defending Rights and Inclusion of people who use drugs in Quebec )  and when he toured through the House of Commons in Ottawa!

http://openparliament.ca/bills/1991/

On to Ottawa Trek
Statements By Members

June 15th, 2010 / 2 p.m.
See context

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, on the 75th anniversary of the historic “On to Ottawa Trek”, I am proud to welcome eight modern day homelessness trekkers from my riding of Vancouver East, who are here in Ottawa.

Am Johal, Diana Hart, Al Mitchell, Georges Maltais, Shawn Millar, David Murray, John Richardson and Garvin Snider left Vancouver on June 6 to re-enact the 1935 workers’ protest against poor wages and abysmal working conditions in government camps during the Great Depression.

This wonderful group is also marking the end of the 2010 Homelessness Hunger Strike Relay, which I was honoured to participate in.

These groups and over 50 major Canadian organizations are calling on the government to support a national housing strategy and to vote yes to Bill C-304.

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