Downtown Eastside Anti-Displacement Town Hall
Speakers including Toghestiy, Unis’tot’en Clan about the struggle against pipelines; Myriam Hernandez about displacement out of Latin America; DTES community organizers about the history of displacement in Vancouver and the realities of gentrification today.
Aboriginal and low-income people in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) understand what forced displacement means. Many of us been pushed out of our home communities and into the DTES fleeing high rents and poverty, racial and colonial discrimination, domestic and family abuse, and grappling with addictions and other health struggles.
When we arrived in the DTES we found a sense of belonging in a community that cares for us. We joined organizations we volunteer with. We built networks of love and survival. Our DTES families and communities are where we belong and where we survive and thrive as creative human beings.
Now, after we have struggled to create safe spaces in a violent world and belonging out of alienation, we are facing the threat of displacement again. This time our displacement is called “revitalization” or gentrification. We are displaced from our SRO hotel rooms by investors who buy the buildings, renovate, and rent them to students. We are displaced off our streets by police and security guard patrols. And our restaurants and shops are displaced by expensive and culturally exclusive boutique shops and restaurants. Where will we go? No one knows.
Meanwhile Aboriginal and other low-income people are still being forced out of their reserves and rural communities and into cities by environmental destruction, lack of good work options and healthy housing crisis. And people (mostly racialized & Indigenous people) internationally are pushed out of their home countries by similar forces like global inequality, war and poverty.
Once in Vancouver many have no options but to move to the DTES because of expensive unaffordable rent, a lack of or exclusion from social housing, and because of the racial, colonial and gender discrimination that blocks them from any housing out of the DTES that they might find.
At this forum we will discuss a strategy to support all people’s right to stay, go, or return to the places they want to be. We are fighting for the right to be in the communities and with the people we love.
Organized by DTES Not for Developers Coalition