Tuesday Morning Paragraph – We Care About Each Other

Carnegie Community Action Project

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dear Mayor & Council,

Why should we preserve the Downtown Eastside as a low-income community?

We care about each other.

These are notes from a CCAP mapping session at a housing co-op in the DTES:

“[This community] makes us feel human and that everyone is human. Someone on the street who is ill is not someone to be afraid of. When we walk to school and see someone…we talk about the illness and not the person. It’s done something to [my children] as human beings that may not have happened if we lived somewhere else.”

“I am proud of who I am and that I grew up here. I’ve been watching my kids come up and their level of bias is so much lower than other kids. They are much less judgmental than their peers. Two of my three kids grew up not worshipping the almighty dollar.”

About the Carnegie cafeteria: “It’s the glory of the cafeteria there. Everyone stands in line. Everyone sits down together. They look like the scum of the earth but someone is leaning over cutting up someone else’s food. There are three guys in the corner and there are guitars and they have jams. Nobody is threatened by them. When my brothers come to town we go there to eat.”

“I’ll tell you my worst experience growing up here. When I was about 14 two cops stopped me one night. I was wearing a hooded jacket. They lectured me and said prostitution was illegal. I was thinking: I’m on the honour role. I’m thinking this and of people’s judgment of the area. I decided I’m going to be proud of where I live and join all the other cool people here.”

(These Tuesday morning paragraphs brought to you by the Carnegie Community Action Project to help you understand why the DTES should continue to be a low income community and not be overwhelmed with condos.)