My New Life in Vancouver: Week 1

What they want me to see:

Image source: CTV News, 2019
Image Source: Discotech, 2019
Image Source: TripSavvy, 2019

VS

What I really see:

East Hastings. Image Source: Vancouver Is Awesome, 2019
The missing women ignored by Vancouver cops and then killed by Robert Pickton. Image Source: CBC, 2018
Mural describing the fentanyl deaths in 2016 and exposing the true nature of BC’s opioid epidemic. Image Source: Vancouver Sun, 2019
How legislation and conniving politicians further oppressed the working poor and the unhoused prior to the Winter Olympics. Image Source: ResearchGate, 2014

Well I moved to Vancouver. Last week, I officially pulled up my roots, left my job, my apartment and the island that I love in order to be with my partner and pursue further education on the mainland. It’s a difficult transition to say the least. Vancouver and I have always had a tenuous relationship. On one hand, I see Vancouver as a multicultural and vibrant city with a lot to offer and more opportunities available for work, education, and community initiatives than my former home. However, I also see Vancouver as a place of inequity where one of the most impoverished places in this country is practically next door to multi-million dollar mansions, foreign-owned high-rises, trendy boutiques and overpriced souvenir stands. It’s a place where the unhoused, mentally-ill, and neglected are shuffled away by cops and politicians every time a big event happens or some rich bitch complains about a tent in their way. It’s a city that preaches tolerance/respect while somehow being unable to contain the virulent anti-Asian racism especially in the wake of COVID-19 nor curb the abuse of unhoused peoples, sex workers and those suffering from addiction before and during the pandemic. Vancouver has a habit of choosing (as most big cities do) to appeal to the tastes of tourists and the wealthy instead of the working class and the poor who walk its streets. I find myself disappointed often despite this city’s potential for true solidarity and social change.

Cancel Canada Day in Vancouver. Image Source: Vancouver Is Awesome, 2021

This is now my home. I’m going to be less cynical for a moment and take this big move as an opportunity to do some good and help my brothers, sisters, and non-binary comrades who live and serve one another in Vancouver. I saw a glimpse of hope last week during the Cancel Canada Day protests where hundreds attended to call attention to the historical and present-day abuses of Indigenous peoples land and bodies. Hoping to see more vocal responses against the State as this journey progresses. I want more concrete action from my city instead of complacency or the empty neoliberal promises to which I’ve become accustomed. Perhaps here I’ll even have more luck finding kindred spirits and true accomplices in the ongoing fights for justice. I guess only time will tell. I would like to document my community work and observations in Vancouver so I intend to be more active on this blog going forward especially when I finally start my program in social services. All right, Vancouver. Show me what you’ve got.

My apologies for the shorter post and for it not being my usual kind of piece. I am unpacking my many boxes and preparing for summer work so my time is severely limited. Thanks as always for reading and I hope to see you again. Solidarity, my friends.

X.S.

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