This is about context. And in the current context where there is no housing for unhoused people, calls to clean up the streets mean violence – displacement, dispossession, banishment, death.
On July 25, 2022, the Vancouver Fire Service issued an order to decamp the newly-formed tent city of people sheltering outside on Hastings Street. Every year the tent cities continue to grow as the housing crisis worsens. Unhoused people and low-income SRO tenants are now creating an alternative community of survival and mutual support on Hastings Street. Earlier this week the City and VPD began enforcing the Fire Order, with events on Tuesday (August 9) that can only be described as a police riot.
This year, an art exhibit and series of workshops have been organized to recognize International Day Against Police Brutality in so-called Vancouver, on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) Nations. The show, Honour Their Names, is organized by the Justice For Jared campaign, and is bringing attention to police murder and violence against Indigenous people across the territory colonially known as Canada.
The legalization of public drinking was top-of-mind for many in Vancouver in the wake of COVID-19 – but don’t be fooled. These “progressive” policies won’t be made available to everyone, especially not people who need an end to alcohol criminalization the most.