Archive for the ‘Jean Swanson’ Category

MOMENTS OF COMMUNITY AND LABOUR HISTORY with Jean Swanson and Joey Hartman for 10th Annual Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival 2013 in Vancouver on Oct 27 2013

October 27, 2013 Leave a comment

Walking Tour
Sunday October 27, 11am – 1pm
Meet at Oppenheimer Park Field House, 488 Powell
Moments of Community and Labour History is a walking tour of twelve memorial plaques that commemorate perseverance, resistance and the struggle for inclusion in the Downtown Eastside. Join Jean Swanson (Carnegie Community Action Project) and Joey Hartman (President, Vancouver and District Labour Council) on a walk through the Downtown Eastside where moments in Vancouver’s labour and community history will be marked. People who participated in these community moments will also be on the walk. Learn about camping for CRAB Park, redressing the Head Tax, the death of Olaf Solheim, striking longshore workers being attacked at Ballantyne Pier, the soapbox victory for Free Speech and more! This is the first tour of the commemorative plaques since the project was completed and installed this past summer with funding from the City of Vancouver. Please wear comfortable walking shoes and dress for the weather. The walk will end at Woodward’s Atrium, 111 W. Hastings. $10 for non-residents, free for local residents

This event was on  Day 5 of  the 12 Days of the Heart of the City Festival. Please check the website for more events!

The 10th Annual Downtown Eastside Heart of the City Festival
Wednesday October 23 to Sunday November 3, 2013

Over 80 events at over 25 venues throughout the Downtown Eastside

2013 hotcf guide

On page 9 of the Festival Program guide, there is a writeup on AHA MEDIA

The Festival is thrilled to partner with the DTES’s AHA Media to provide social media coverage (video/photos/blog) of the Heart of the City Festival. AHA Media gives voice to our local community and provides services for individuals and organizations to share their news and special events on a broader scale through social media. Founded in 2008 by local artists April Smith, Hendrik Beune, and Al Tkatch, AHA Media previously collaborated with Fearless City Media and has an ongoing working relationship with W2Community Media Arts and various other organizations and individuals in the DTES community. The members of AHA Media describe themselves as “definitely not mainstream media”. Based in Vancouver’s DTES, their style is described as non-invasive and unassuming.

Say Hello to AHA Media as they visit the Festival events. They will be happy to chat with you. Stay connected to the festival with AHA’s links – see photos/videos of the festival events you attended; take in a festival event you missed; or follow one festival event while you are attending another!

Follow AHA MEDIA on Twitter, Facebook,  Youtube and Flickr!

AHA MEDIA Twitter   @AHAMEDIA  @AprilFilms  

AHA MEDIA Facebook

AHA Media YouTube Channel

AHA Media Flickr Photos

Photos from Paint Party at the Old Cop Shop at 312 Main Street in Vancouver

April 14, 2013 1 comment

Downtown Eastsiders paint old police station to claim it for 100% social housing

About 75 Downtown Eastside residents and supporters gathered at the former police station at Main and Cordova today to claim the empty building for social housing and a community space for Aboriginal women and social justice groups. “No corps here. 100% social housing,” said one sign. “People not profit,” said another.

Every resident based group in the Downtown Eastside supports this demand, including the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users, Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council, Carnegie Community Centre Association, Downtown Eastside Power of Women Group, Aboriginal Front Door, Gallery Gachet and Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction.

The action was one of a series by Formerly Homeless Dave and his supporters. Dave is on day 24 of a Hunger Strike. His demands include using the city owned former police station for social housing, having the city buy the site at 138 E. Hastings for social housing, and declaring the Downtown Eastside a Social Justice Zone where low income people won’t be pushed out.

Wendy Pedersen, an independent organizer and DTES resident told the group that 5000 SRO residents and over 600 shelter resident in the DTES are in dire need of housing. But instead of using the empty cop shop for what the neighbourhood desperately needs, the city “wants to put in a high tech venture capital hub that will bring more condos, fancy restaurants and displacement.”

Pedersen said we need “drastic action now” because “we’ve been to every city council meeting in the last 10 years and we lose every time.”

Ten year old Agnes, started painting the wall with a three foot high daisy, part of a DTES tradition begun in 1995 when now MLA Jenny Kwan painted a daisy on Woodward’s as part of a fight to get it turned into social housing.

But the 125 units of singles social housing at Woodward came with 536 condos which pushed up land values and prices nearby, and over 400 SROs raised rents, within a block of Woodward’s, beyond what people on welfare and pensions can afford.

“We won’t be tricked again,” said Dave Hamm of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users.

Homeless Dave said that the Hunger Strike is “not fun.” But it’s necessary because the Mayor is planning to give this building to corporations and then subsidize them instead of building social housing in the community.”

“This gentrification and displacement of human lives is not right,” Elaine Durocher, a DTES resident, told the group. “Housing is a right. I was homeless once and I know what it feels like.”

VANDU president Dave Hamm said that VANDU “is in total support of Homeless Dave’s Hunger Strike and housing.”

DJ Joe of the DNC board said she was also in support of the Hunger Strike.

People drew pictures of flowers, houses, and people on the wall of the old police station. Their slogans read: “100% social housing today.” “We are Human!” “Human capital, not venture capital.” “Homes here now.” “Condos create homelessness.”

Formerly Homeless Dave plans to continue the Hunger Strike until action is taken on his demands.

Contact: Tami Starlight 604.790.9943; Wendy Pedersen 604. 839.0379;


18 AHA MEDIA  and ACCESS TV films Paint Party for Housing in Vancouver

180 AHA MEDIA  and ACCESS TV films Paint Party for Housing in Vancouver

The demands:
1. 100% social community directed social housing at the 138 Sequel location, with a healing and wellness center. (the old pantages theatre site)

2. 100% social housing at the old cop shop on Main St. with a community directed space focused on indigenous women in regards to the horrific damage done to indigenous people by Vancouver police for a very long time at that site.

3. The City of Vancouver declare the downtown eastside a social justice zone and along with the community develop policies to make that happen.

How to get involved: email
Twitter: dteshungrstrike

Welfare Food Challenge Ends – Eat on the Welfare Rate for One Week – only $26 for Food in Vancouver

October 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Welfare Food Challenge Ends Today

Hear from some of the 100 Challenge takers about their experiences and hunger and what they have learned about a poverty hunger diet.

After a week of eating a poverty diet, only spending the $26 that a single person on welfare has for food, the people who took the Welfare Food Challenge can return to their usual life. Most feel changed and now they have a much better understanding of life in poverty and an appreciation of food and its costs. But for the 177,000 people on welfare, the 137,000 children in poverty and the over 500,000 people in poverty in BC they have a poverty diet every week.

Speakers were:

·      Bill Hopwood (Raise the Rates organizer) Chair

·      Constance Barnes (Commissioner, Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation) who took the Challenge

·      Fraser Stuart (Raise the Rates activist) who is living on welfare

·      Gerry Kasten (Registered Dietitian) who took the Challenge

·      Ted Bruce (Executive Director of Population Health with Vancouver Coastal Health) who took the Challenge

·      Victoria Bull, (Parents and Grandparents in Poverty) a grandparent raising her grandchild on welfare

·      Jean Swanson (Chair of Raise the Rates)

·      Karen Barnaby (Chef) who prepared a week’s worth of food with $26

Famous chef and food columnist, Karen Barnaby, will also present her food for a week, costing $26.


·      Bill Hopwood: 604 738-1653, 778 686-5293 (cell)

·      Jean Swanson: 604 729-2380,

·      Welfare Food Challenge Website:

26 Years since Emery Barnes – Where are We Now?

Justice not Charity

Also hear also from people who live in poverty every day.

Raise the Rates: Welfare Food Challenge

Eat on the Welfare Rate for One Week – only $26 for Food

An Invitation to the People of BC

Poverty in BC

BC has the worst poverty in Canada. This has been true for nearly a decade.

The Facts:

  • ·      BC has had the worst or second worst child poverty; 137,000 children in poverty.
  • ·      BC has the worst overall rate of poverty; over 500,000 people
  • ·      BC has the biggest inequality between the richest and poorest 20% of the population

Do you think poverty in BC is a scandal?

Do you want to do something to change BC’s poverty record? The poorest people in BC are those on welfare. A single person on welfare gets only $610 a month for everything shelter, food, hygiene, clothes, etc.

If we can get welfare raised this will help people on welfare and also everyone in poverty by pushing up standards.

We Invite you to take the Welfare Food Challenge

Raise the Rates has launched the Welfare Food Challenge. The challenge is to live for a week on the food that a single, able-bodied person on welfare would have – spending only $26!

The challenge will start on October 16, World Food Day, and will finish on OctRaise the Rates has launched a new challenge, the Welfare Food Challenge. The
challenge is to live for a week on the food that a single, able-bodied person on welfare would have – spending only $26!

Of the $610 a month the BC government provides for a person on welfare, after paying for accommodation, bus tickets and cellphone (necessary to look for work), and basic
hygiene only $109 remains for food – less than $26 for a week. There is nothing for clothes, haircuts, or any social life.

Raise the Rates invites people from across BC in all walks of life to take the Welfare Food Challenge and share with friends, the media and policy makers their experiences of a week of poverty eating.

Raise the Rates recognizes that one week is not the same as what people on welfare experience, as they have to survive for months on welfare and often lack proper cooking facilities.

You can do it for one week to help make a difference!

We hope you are interested in taking the Challenge and help end poverty in BC. Find out more:

Please encourage friends and colleagues to take the Challenge too.

Community Dialogue on Thursday March 3 at St James Church in Vancouver Downtown Eastside

February 24, 2011 Leave a comment

What are Community Benefits Agreements?  Will they help our community?

Join us for a Community Dialogue on Thursday March 3 10 AM – 1 PM At St. James Church ( E. Cordova St @ Gore St )

Coffee, Tea and Snacks

Jean Swanson is the co-author of the Carnegie Community Action Project’s Vision for Change

Julian Gross has negotiation over a dozen community benefits agreements in California

Co-hosted by the DTES Neighbourhood Council and the Vancouver  Urban Core Community Worker’s Association

And presented with the Building Leadership to Create Change Gathering

Downtown Eastsiders to take a mock SRO to Pt. Grey for High Tea in Vancouver

November 9, 2010 1 comment

Media Advisory

Downtown Eastsiders to take a mock  SRO to Pt. Grey for High Tea

Downtown Eastside residents and supporters plan to invade Point Grey with a mock SRO and two not-so-beloved creatures, Itchy the Bedbug and Creepy the Cockroach. They then plan to serve High Tea at a mystery location. The action, sponsored by Raise the Rates, will contrast living conditions for the poor and rich and point out that extreme income inequality actually shortens the lives of people who are poor and that unequal countries have more social problems than more equal countries.

The media was invited to:

·         See Downtown Eastside residents protest extreme wealth in the midst of poverty;

·         Learn facts about the impact of inequality;

·         Learn how inequality could be reduced.

Raise the Rates is a coalition of BC groups that want governments to reduce poverty and inequality.

To the owner of 4707 Belmont Drive

We are a gathering of individuals, members of community groups, and representatives from various organizations concerned with the levels of poverty and homelessness in BC, and the increasing degree of inequality in our province. Some of us struggle with poverty every day, others know poverty and homelessness through friends and family who are affected by these realities, and all are committed advocates for social justice. What unites us is our understanding that rampant inequality generates significant harm to individuals and communities, and undermines social health and well-being.

As the owner of one of the most expensive homes in Vancouver, you occupy the opposite end of the economic spectrum from us. Those on income assistance receive $375 for monthly rent, and the Single Room Occupancy (SRO) hotel rooms available at that rate are mostly unfit for healthy human habitation (10’x10’ rooms without washrooms or kitchens and infested with bedbugs, cockroaches and mice). By contrast, your $31 million home has extravagant space (45,000 sq ft) and luxurious amenities (swimming pool, squash courts, etc.) for you and your family, far beyond what most families in the city or province would consider reasonable, adequate housing.

We are here today to highlight this immense inequality, and to call on you to publicly support the demands we have put forward. These demands call on the provincial and federal governments to raise welfare rates, end the barriers to receiving income assistance, increase minimum wage, build 2000 units of social housing per year in BC, replace the SRO housing stock in the Downtown Eastside with new units of social housing, and increase taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals. We ask you to contact the provincial and federal ministers of finance, housing and income assistance to assert your support of these demands.

Implementing such policies would significantly reduce poverty and homelessness in our province, and improve the lives of those most afflicted by the deprivation of basic necessities; it would also make our communities stronger and healthier for all. As recent studies have shown, rampant economic inequality has widespread negative social impacts. Life expectancy, homicide rates, drug abuse, child well-being, levels of trust, involvement in community life, mental illness, teenage birth rates, children’s math and literacy scores, the proportion of the population in prison, prevalence of racism, sexism and homophobia, and voter turnout are all worse in countries with greater inequality than those with more equality.

We invite you to add your voice and energy to this call for greater economic equality and the elimination of poverty and homelessness in our province. We do not seek charity but true justice in the political, social and economic structures of our collective lives.