The recent dismantling of the Tent City at Oppenheimer Park has brought forward a much needed dialogue forefront: who gets to use the Public Green Spaces? As we see fences going up at Oppenheimer Park and surrounding parks, but not Creekside or David Lam Park, it is being made clear who is granted access to and whose needs these public spaces meet.
The Downtown Eastside has been refuge and home for many, a hub of social services and gathering of many cultures, experiences and histories. With this comes colonial stereotypes which push a narrative of danger and risk. This is untrue. Structural racism, classism, gentrification and systemic violence has been a lethal foundation that’s been hidden by colonial authorities implementing “The Deserving Poor” rhetoric across these stolen lands. Causing a lack of accountability to the colonial violence, displacement and genocide that’s relocated so many to the DTES.
Vines Art Festival is bringing the voices of four artists/community leaders: Chrissy Brett, Siobhan Barker, Jane Shi, and Ga’axstsalas Cheryle Williams (gunargie o’sullivan) to share how their relationship with green/public space, how it’s changed throughout the years and especially how it is rapidly changing during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Vines’ mandate is to work towards land, water and relational justice, we are grateful to our panelists in supporting us to be accountable in our work in public spaces on stolen land.
Panelists: Chrissy Brett, Siobhan Barker, Jane Shi, Ga’axstsalas Cheryle Williams (gunargie o’sullivan)