Tuesday, October 1st, 2013
To the Editors of the Gastown Gazette,
The Carnegie Community Centre Association (CCCA) strongly supports the voices of low income community members, and through the work of its action project, has brought hundreds of community members together for workshops and town hall meetings focused on improving housing and income. Both are issues that are pivotal to the survival of the low-income community in the DTES. The CCCA Board represents 5000 members of the low-income DTES community, and feels a responsibility to take action whenever the collective voices of that community are distorted or silenced.
The CCCA Board has read with concern your post entitled “Vancity, you have a problem”, posted at http://gastowngazette.com/vancity-you-have-a-problem.
Your post states that the Carnegie Community Action Project (CCAP) “has no board of directors and no outward accountability.” This is false. CCAP is a project of the board of the Carnegie Community Centre Association. The board is elected. CCAP itself holds weekly volunteer meetings. CCAP has also held numerous workshops and Town Hall meetings throughout the year on key issues that are relevant to the low-income community.
Your post says that the “researchers” and leadership of the CCAP lead and support the pickets at Pidgin and Cuchillo restaurants.” This is also inaccurate. CCAP researchers have not lead and supported the pickets.
Your post says that you “witnessed the thugs they call friends threaten and bully our neighbors and attempt to put young entrepreneurs out of business. Their words and actions have encouraged radical elements in our community, promoted vandalism against local businesses, and undermined support for important initiatives.” CCAP has never encouraged threats, bullying or vandalism, and – as such – there is absolutely no evidence in support of this claim.
Your post says that “CCAP supporters and protestors are from outside this neighbourhood. They are not interested in building a stronger local economy for the Downtown Eastside.” CCAP’s activities are focused on improving income and housing for the low-income DTES residents, as documented in years of work published on our website. CCAP does have many supporters from outside the DTES, but the core of CCAP’s volunteers is, and has always been, the low-income DTES community.
These are unsupported allegations and attacks based on erroneous statements. We request and trust that you will publish the following statement immediately on receipt of this letter, and on your front page.
“Claims made by the editors in the “Vancity, you have a problem” posting are inaccurate. CCAP is a project of the elected board of the Carnegie Community Centre Association. The Carnegie Community Centre Association (CCCA) has a membership of 5,000 people, most of whom are low-income DTES residents. Through the work of its initiative entitled the Carnegie Community Action Project (CCAP), the CCCA has brought hundreds of community members together for workshops and town hall meetings focused on improving housing and income.
While CCAP staff are not leading or participating in the Pidgin or Cuchillo Pickets, the 5,000 members of the CCCA are free to participate in whichever local activities they deem to be important. CCAP has never encouraged threats, bullying or vandalism of any kind, and the claims made in the “Vancity, you have a problem” post are false. For many years, CCAP has played a vital role in supporting the Carnegie Community Centre Association’s 5,000 members through its work on housing, income, and land use issues in the Downtown Eastside (DTES). For more information on CCAP’s work and the role it plays in supporting DTES residents in working for change in their neighbourhood, please visit http://www.ccapvancouver.wordpress.com.”