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Karen Ward @kwardvancouver
, 28 tweets, 7 min read Read on Twitter
i've had to make this point several times when speaking to council.

it would be great if nobody has to do this in the future. i'd like that. if i don't have to point this out, that would indicate to me that we've made a significant change
#vanpoli #vanelxn18
if we refused to wait until the obituary before acknowledging that people have inherent dignity, worth, humanity, all that
if the motivating impulse is resentment, the consequences can never be productive. it seems to me that this is a big reason why the #DTES is so utterly messed up. an endless spiral of resentment & blame & regret, such fierce desire for a past that never was
we're at a point in history where people regularly talk about homelessness, poverty, illness, death, climate change, the cost of milk, the canucks lost again, gentrification, to an ever-present and all-powerful 𝗧𝗵𝗲𝗺. or
i have it on pretty solid authority PLUS i read it in a book AND i heard from that guy at the park that when people are elected to civic office they do not in fact become ℳagic. i think that is the opposite of democratic representation actually, just as blaming Them
[sorry there was an alarming sound in the hall and somehow when i got back, the internet went out. i think it's time to move]
blaming Them, incomprehensible Them, is to deny your power in this world, it is saying this isn't your history and the future can't be yours too
or as it's constantly said in the downtown eastside, "That's just how it is down here"

but i have to say that i have seen people who've been invisibled claim their right to change the world and trust me when you feel it there's no need to shout
or Demand
[you notice how drug users habitually mumble, talk into their chest, sentences trailing to silence? they have lots to say, they're just used to not being listened to]
but a few hours before the polls open - after over 20 years of drug users negotiating some access to elected representatives which has resulted in Insite & a entire neighbourhood embedded (+/-) with #harmReduction services. and Ideas
but in the spring of 2016 those ideas, those ideas were frozen in time. the world had changed the neighbourhood felt -- it was a siege a constant - and escalating - crisis
today is Day 920 of a public health emergency #bcpoli
Eight months passed after that emergency was declared before the province sanctioned Overdose Prevention sites. hundreds of people were dead. that fall it rained and rained. @sarahblyth opened the tent in the alley.
tracey and i were going to city meetings, the mental health & addictions task force, catching shit for it too. there was the big tent day when 300 had narcan training, which was paid for somehow from the .5% "fentanyl tax" - that was december 2016 and as i recall, not popular
yeah, i got the date right. dec 13, the following week. the radical militant take: the Evil City Used You All! and: "how did they use us to have a public event about what we want on our terms to get the $ that will help? BUT…
something shifted. @sarahblyth hadn't given up and she was tweeting constantly and probably calling the ministry of health often. lots of people were on it, but she turned this into civil disobedience,
that is,
Saving Users' Lives is a Political Act Because Our Humanity is Worth Personal Sacrifice and Risk
Please Acknowledge the Humanness We Have in Common While I Am Alive
i just realized that earlier the same fall i organized a show at gachet (last one, turns out). i had the one thing in it, Fortress of Solitude
that .5% was spent - in not the most helpful ways, i thought. the language was "mitigate the damage" -- ie assume the damage as a fact. and more people died. rage and powerlessness is a terrible combination. i noticed a terrible thing happening.
at first it was a look. an expression of surprise.

people started giving each other up for dead
and themselves

the pursuit of oblivion
then it all got worse
(it got worse from running into someone you hadn't seen in two weeks and one person would say "oh i figured you had died" it got worse)

vancouver was the urban best equipped for this it is a true fact

look what happened
is there anything we can do? anything? it was july 26 2017. karen what can we do?

said the mayor to the crackhead
right now today, #SafeSupply. all substances. multiple points of access. and by #Decriminalize - i don't mean the thing, the drug. we can start by decriminalizing people. this does require a shift in thinking.
it is analogous to the aids crisis. the shift came when 'victims' became people.

the crisis is not the drug. the crisis is a social need to sacrifice individuals who exhibit the consequences of social cruelty.

but there is no Them
and there's no calvary and no magic and also no mystery

stop angrily demanding what They can't give
learn from sarah; build new structures - break with the past
look the thing is everybody uses drugs

and this seems the time to say what seems obvious -
harm is reduced the moment a user comes out.

Gentleness is not weakness. Arrogance is not strength. Justice is love.
if we choose to become visible we might see each other clearly

acknowledge the harm and listen. ask

there's no They

it's just us
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