More Withdrawal of Support for Vancouver Queer Film Fest Over BDS Stance

YES. This is truly fantastic news from a locally high profile, low barrier health and wellness resource here in town for trans and gender diverse people. Thank you to the Catherine White Holman Wellness Centre for taking this stand which reflects the principles of the Centre. Please let me know if there are any ways that RAMP can support as you move forward with this.

So far it looks like this post is on facebook but isn’t up on their website, but i’ll update if that changes. Please note i made some line breaks for more accessible reading here.

   Catherine White Holman Wellness Centre

After careful consideration, the CWHWC has decided not to partner with the Vancouver Queer Film Festival this year. Please see our letter below.

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To the Vancouver Queer Film Festival,

This letter is to advise you that the Catherine White Holman Wellness Centre (CWHWC) has decided not to partner with the Vancouver Queer Film Festival (VQFF) this year. We ask that you share the news of our decision, and this letter, with the VQFF board.

The primary reason that we will not be renewing our partnership in 2015 is because we do not feel that the VQFF adequately addressed the many concerns that arose from the festival’s acceptance of advertising from a pro-Israel group, Yad b’Yad LGBTQ, in the festival guide last year. While we understand that the VQFF have engaged in a process over the last year to try to reconcile their position on this issue, the outcome as outlined in the “open letter to our community” is not enough for us to feel comfortable partnering with VQFF at this time.

In the “open letter to our community”, we feel that the VQFF does not satisfactorily address the concerns about pinkwashing that the community has been raising for many years. The VQFF decision to not accept nationalist based advertising appears to be a way to try to address the community’s concerns without having to take a particular stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict. What is being asked, however, by us and by many others, is exactly that: to take a stand.

As outlined in your open letter, the conflict between Israel and Palestine is an asymmetrical one. One side has vastly superior weapons and resources, and has been recognized by international law as being engaged in a violent occupation of the other side. The Gaza War in 2014 was one more uneven “war” in a long line of violent exchanges, wherein 2,200 Palestinians were killed – 1,500 were civilians – and 66 Israeli soldiers and 6 civilians were killed (sources: CNN, Wiki, UN).

In our Collective Ethics, all of the volunteers who are connected to the CWHWC have agreed to the following:

-We are committed to anti-oppression. This includes reflecting on our own privilege, being open to hearing that we have work to do to address internalized oppressive values, and being accountable.

-We are strongly opposed to Islamophobia, colonization, and anti-Semitism.

-We support the BDS movement and the call to support Palestine in its calls for justice and peace.

We therefore cannot partner with an organization that will not take this stand with us.

We will continue to monitor how VQFF addresses this matter going forward, and are open to discussing further if that is your wish. We truly hope that one day soon our organizations will be standing together again.

Sincerely,

Catherine White Holman Wellness Centre”

ramps are not a yeah-but.

It’s great that so much work and community building and resistance and so on happens around a kitchen table, a bed, not necessarily always in the streets, but in the hangouts we have where we laugh our asses off for hours or make crafty things or food or poetry together or any number of other things not deemed “activist” enough and without a bullhorn. i love that, and i believe it and feel it in my bones.

But i can tell you that if that kitchen, bed, common room, whatever, doesn’t have a ramp? i can’t be or build with you. When you actually, tangibly, literally rely on ramps to be part-of something, to be part-of this building that happens not-on-the-streets(*), ramps aren’t just a yeah-but. They’re a requirement, a bottom line, a non-negotiable deal breaker, and they are often -for those of us who specifically, actually rely on them- the first line of shut-down, of no-building (though they’re rarely the only one).

So please, non-wheeled folks, including other disabled folks, please stop telling me “yes yes of course ramps matter but…”.
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[*streets, which, just to be real for a moment, are often significantly more wheels accessible (and are at least fairly predictable) than any other proposed gathering space for building, so there’s that.]

On Really Getting What An Audit Is About

If you speak about RAMP’s (or anyone’s really) accessibility audit as simply a collection of boxes to tick off, and one which people and groups can simply use to “prove” they are “accessible” but then actually do little else, you do highlight a reality of living in an ableist society (where every tactic has its limitations, and every tool can be manipulated). And you also (i’m sure unintentionally) in some ways denigrate the process it entails, the work done by (in the case of RAMP) disabled folks, and most importantly you misunderstand the point.
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The audit is not simply some dry, manipulate-able document for proving an individual or group’s commitment to accessibility; and it is not even simply about accessibility (whether someone takes a limited or expansive view of access). Try to remember that it’s a work in progress, it isn’t the only thing out there, and that RAMP welcomes feedback and input to make it even better and to keep it relevant.
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Used to its full potential, i like to think of it as a whole process whereby individuals and groups begin (or continue) to look at the many ways their space/ event/ organizing group/ etc can shift its priorities, its philosophies, its understandings, and yes its walls, sometimes razing the entirety to the ground, to create and re-create not only a more welcoming space for multiply disabled folks, but to change, shift, demolish notions of worth, of solidarity, of resistance, of community altogether.
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And it is something tangible that people can take away, whether variously disabled or not, and talk about within their own communities, can ask questions, can critique, can add ideas and specific experiences, can pick it apart, can adapt it to suit, can challenge the ableist notions that surround it.
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And it is one tool those of us with decreased access (for a variety of reasons) can use to determine where and how we share our energy, talent, presence, brilliance and resistance.
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And while it isn’t everything, doesn’t do everything, doesn’t encompass everything and isn’t without its limitations, it does add something, it does create dialogue and tangible change. i’ve seen it, experienced it first hand. 
And in a society that is pretty consistently telling variously disabled folks that our presence doesn’t have an impact, that our lives are not worth making and sharing space with, that does mean something.
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Justice For Cindy Gladue, Vancouver Coast Salish Territories

Please join RAMP and other groups and individuals at 800 Hornby this Thursday April 2nd at 10:30 a.m. as we honour Cindy Gladue’s life and to demand justice for her and specifically call for a re-trial. See below for ways to take part if you’re not able to attend.

From the event facebook page:

All across these lands, in almost twenty cities and communities, there will be rallies on Thursday April 2 to honour Cindy Gladue’s life and to demand justice for her with a specific call for a re-trial (please see below).

Cindy Gladue was a 36-year old Indigenous mother of two who was murdered by Bradley Barton in an Edmonton motel room four years ago. Last week, an almost all-white and all-male jury decided to acquit her killer, a white Ontario man, because they believed that Cindy had consented to the violence that caused her to bleed to death. Her killing and the verdict both represent a larger ongoing pattern of colonial gendered violence.

Earlier this month, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) concluded that Canada, “has failed to ensure that Aboriginal women are protected against discrimination committed by public institutions.”

And in December of 2014 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights stated, “disappearances and murders of indigenous women in Canada are part of a broader pattern of violence and discrimination against indigenous women in Canada.”

The UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is visiting BC this month and the previous UN Special Rapporteur Dr. Anaya stated that “indigenous women and girls remain vulnerable to abuse” due to complex and intersecting historical and present issues stemming from the impacts of colonialism. Dr. Anaya noted the disproportionately high rate that Indigenous women and girls are victims of violent crime, and that “since 1996, there have been at least 29 official inquiries and reports dealing with aspects of this issue, which have made over 500 recommendations for action.”

We demand justice for Cindy Gladue and all missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

Thank you for joining us,
Feb 14th Women’s Memorial March Committee.

* IF YOU ARE UNABLE TO JOIN *

If you are unable to join us, but want to show your support, you can sign the petition at https://www.change.org/p/honourable-jonathan-denis-qc-mla-minister-of-justice-and-solicitor-general-initiate-an-appeal-of-justice-for-cindy-gladue

We also call on you to join in the push for a retrial. Crown Prosecutor Carole Godfrey has only one month to initiate an appeal for a retrial.

Respectfully request that the prosecutor initiate an appeal to retry Bradley Barton for the original charges of second-degree murder.

Crown Prosecutor Carole Godfrey
6th Floor, J.E. Brownlee Building
10365 – 97th Street
Edmonton, AB T5J 3W7
Telephone: 780-422-1111
Fax: 780-422-9756
E-mail: edmontonprosecutions@gov.ab.ca

Write to Alberta Justice Minister and Solicitor General Jonathan Denis, who would have to approve the call for an appeal:

Honourable Jonathan Denis QC MLA
Minister of Justice and Solicitor General
3rd floor, Bowker Building, 9833 – 109 Street.
Edmonton, Alberta, T5K 2E8
Phone: 780-427-2339
Fax: 780-422-6621
Email: ministryofjustice@gov.ab.ca

(Write and call-in information via Naomi Sayers and Sarah Hunt, image credit Angela Sterritt)

* ADDITIONAL EVENTS

https://www.facebook.com/events/659410977496946/ – JUSTICE FOR CINDY GLADUE ~ ALGONQUIN TERRITORY

https://www.facebook.com/events/419958091508690/ – Edmonton

https://www.facebook.com/events/1501176266769571/ – Justice and Vigil for Cindy Gladue Calgary/Treaty 7/Blackfoot Confederacy

https://www.facebook.com/events/1606587266225135/ – Victoria, on Lkwungen territories

https://www.facebook.com/events/1411748372467390/ – Saskatoon

https://www.facebook.com/events/1578080472462451/ – Justice For Cindy Gladue-Regina

https://www.facebook.com/events/516826465122931/ – Justice for Cindy Gladue — St. John’s, NL

https://www.facebook.com/events/682805831848855/ – Justice for Cindy Gladue ~ Kenora/Treaty 3

https://www.facebook.com/events/614292468672452/ – Justice and Vigil for Cindy Gladue Treaty 1 Solidarity Action Winnipeg

https://www.facebook.com/events/1592063801041473/ – No Justice No Peace – Honouring Cindy Gladue – Toronto

https://www.facebook.com/events/357892087750793/ – Justice for Cindy Gladue, an event in Nogojiwanong (Peterborough)

https://www.facebook.com/events/897332023620446/ – Lac La Biche, Alberta

https://www.facebook.com/events/934387869934355/ – Treaty 7 Blackfoot Territory, Lethbridge, Alberta

https://www.facebook.com/events/692227500888667/ – Justice for Cindy Gladue–Saskatoon Art-In

https://www.facebook.com/events/716924471749736/ – JUSTICE FOR CINDY GLADUE ST.PAUL AND AREA

Transportation, Not Deportation (and harassment, targeting, assault, murder, etc)!

UPDATE FEBRUARY 21, 2015: 

https://transportationnotdeportation.wordpress.com/2015/02/21/transportation-not-deportation-campaign-forces-transit-police-to-terminate-agreement-with-canada-border-services-agency/

TRANSPORTATION NOT DEPORTATION CAMPAIGN FORCES TRANSIT POLICE TO TERMINATE AGREEMENT WITH CANADA BORDER SERVICES AGENCY

Friday February 20, Vancouver

“This afternoon, Transit Police informed representatives of the Transportation not Deportation campaign that they will terminate their Memorandum of Understanding with CBSA, that officers must receive permission from a Watch Commander to initiate contact with CBSA, and that they will not detain people without warrants for items that are simply contravention of immigration law,” confirms Omar Chu of Transportation not Deportation.

Since 2007, Transit Police and the Pacific Region Enforcement Center of CBSA have had a Memorandum of Understanding. Transit Police reported three hundred and twenty eight people to Canada Border Services Agency in 2013, one in five of whom faced a subsequent immigration investigation including deportation. Only 1.5% of all those referred to CBSA even had immigration warrants out. From November 2012 to January 2013, Transit police made had more referrals to CBSA than any other BC police force including the VPD and RCMP.

One of these people was Mexican migrant and hotel worker Lucia Vega Jiménez, who later committed suicide while in CBSA custody. At the coroner’s inquest into her death, a Transit Police officer testified that he turned Lucia over to Canada Border Services Agency, in part, because Lucia had an accent and that he believed “she wasn’t originally from Canada.”

“Public transit is not be a border checkpoint. This MOU should never have been in place but now as a direct result of grassroots community mobilizing including forty organizations and over 1500 people demanding an end to Transit Police and CBSA collaboration, Transit police will not be enforcing federal immigration policy,” says Harsha Walia of Transportation not Deportation.

The Transportation not Deportation! campaign will continue with our intention to flood the Transit Police board meeting on Friday, February 27th to ensure implementation of this policy that keeps public transportation free from immigration policy enforcement.”

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ORIGINAL POST:
Please read, and sign on if you agree, and/or share this. The Radical Access Mapping Project totally supports the 5 demands noted below. Public transit should not be a border checkpoint, and should not come with the risk of harassment, arrest, or worse. Disability justice includes access to public transit free from racist targeting; public transit MUST be accessible for ALL.

https://www.change.org/p/translink-and-transit-police-stop-turning-public-transit-into-a-border-checkpoint

“25 groups have signed onto Transportation not Deportation campaign. Check it and have your group endorse too if you agree with the five demands.

Not part of a group, no worries, sign and circulate this petition and help us get to 2,000 signatures that we can hammer away at the next Translink board meeting.

“We believe our public transit system should not be a border checkpoint. Translink and Transit Police should not ask for or retain immigration status information, and should they learn of someone’s immigration status they should not share that information with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).”


DEMANDS:
1) End racial profiling of people on our public transit system and ensure access without fear of criminalization or deportation to all residents.2) Terminate the Memorandum of Understanding between Transit Police and CBSA.

3) Stop turning people over to CBSA and stop enforcing federal immigration law, particularly given that most Transit Police referrals to CBSA are for situations where no warrant even exists.

4) Ensure that a range of identification is accepted as sufficient to verify identity when needed.

5) Remove CBSA phone numbers as well as all immigration-related databases from Translink and Transit Police databases.

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[Re Image Descriptions. 2 different images may come up when accessing the post.

1) a play on a vancouver area bus ticket, a white background with salmon coloured patches, and black text which reads:

“Trans Link
Referrals to CBSA, 2013: 328
(in a coloured arrow) 1 in 5 resulted in an immigration investigation”

2) A comic style drawing of a gun pointing at a line of people of different colours standing inside a stylized bus; the folks of colour have their hands in the air a la “surrender”, while the white peoples’ hands are down. There is a Trans Link logo to the side. The text reads: “FAIR CHECK?”

gratitude

Not all the time, but sometimes i find it really hard to feel hot (as in foxy, sexy, DAMN! y’know, however you describe such a thing, if you do) as someone living with chronic pain and other ongoing, lifelong health stuff that’s permanent, disabling, inconvenient, sometimes embarrassing, that’s still considered shameful or sad or “a waste” by lots of folks.
i’ve had a lot of years of practice at it –and i’m not a self-hating gimp (but really, what is “self-hatred” when you’re living in a society that more often than not would prefer you die off?), i’ve got access to different communities and to many friends and loves who experience some similar and some dissimilar things around those feelings; i’m not alone in it– and yet it’s still not easy, it doesn’t just come. And there’s pressure –even and sometimes especially within disability communities– to spin some sort of golden sexy shit out of it all the fucking time. Sometimes that’s just fine for me, and i do that too. But when that’s not possible, it so often feels like a personal failing, something just inherently not good enough about me and this body [and there are multiple sources all around perfectly happy to reinforce that message].

It’s actually really hard to be constantly fighting those fucked up messages, from inside me, inside communities, and from the general public, and to continue to practice some sort of self-love even when those fucked up messages get inside.

And there’s this too:

i’m grateful for every gimp i’ve ever known, whether or not you feel hot, or desirable, or wanted every moment; whether or not you live up to the expectations we so often put on one another; whether or not someone has ever met you and been fortunate to feel the pull of wanting to know more of your brilliance. You and i are a blanket of stars, covering, warming, hiding, holding secrets and joy and heat for days and days on fucking end…

and sometimes when i cover myself, even just my toes, with you, with us, i feel that burn.

we breathe resistance

i don’t need you to be “healed” to help me.

i think it’s a misunderstanding(?) or too simplistic(?) to always just say that if you’re broken/ tired/ sick/ drained/ etc that you can’t care for others. i do understand the intention is about encouraging folks to take care of ourselves, to replenish, to build resistance and resilience inside ourselves (with what?) so that we can also bring that wherever we go. i understand “put your oxygen mask on and THEN help others“.

But that’s not all it is. That’s not all there can be. i know this, because i know that i and other variously sick and disabled and hurting folks help others all the time, support others, care for others, at times yes prioritize others, etc, and still we go on. i know this.

i know that there are some things that need to be cared for before we can just leap into other stuff. i know if i’m losing blood fast, i need to deal with that, deal with being able to breath, and am not gonna be my most present (in reality, i experience these episodes more as a hyper-presence than lack thereof) while having a panic attack, etc. and i know too that so much of “you can’t help others if you are hurting etc” is informed however unintentionally by various kinds of ableism, as well as by a certain amount of… well… ability to have the time and space to separate these things out somehow in the first place; or even just being able to separate it out at all. i know this.

Sick and disabled and hurting people are parents, healers, teachers, caregivers, artists, volunteers, mechanics, factory workers, sex workers, can collectors, we’re friends to drink coffee with and talk about love with and shed tears with and do jigsaw puzzles with and make food with and sit in grass with and and and… and we are already doing this work, this expanding of, this expression of, this sharing of what we are capable of, and some things we are frankly not capable of… AND we are still sick and disabled and hurting. i AM ALWAYS disabled. i will ALWAYS BE disabled. It doesn’t go away on a retreat, it doesn’t lessen with self-care, and it doesn’t mean that i can’t properly love and support you or make decisions about what that can look like for me. i will always be disabled, and will grow increasingly more disabled as the years go on. That takes a toll on me, it requires that i do an increasing and adaptable amount of “self care” –> “self care” which requires an increasing and adaptable amount of energy –> energy i have less and less of. That reality does not mean that there is now or will ever be a time, a cutoff, when i will stop loving and supporting you. This is the reality.

And so is this:
i don’t need you to be healed to love and support me.
i don’t need my oxygen mask to love and support you.
We breathe life into one another.
We breathe love into one another.
We breathe resistance into one another.
This is one of the things crip/gimp/disability reality & community has taught me.

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