Friday, June 15, 2012

Rock City Hall

To be fair, the City of Victoria has created some new subsidized and low-income housing in the past couple of years in their efforts to “end homelessness.” The crisis of poverty and homelessness grows exponentially, though, so until we overhaul everything and establish a society grounded in true equality, we’re going to continue to see the kinds of numbers that showed up last night at City Hall for free grub and a chance to address council. Organizers estimate at least 150 homeless and street associated people were fed outside city hall, at the BBQ City Hall: Turn up the Heat on Council event organized by ViPIRG (the Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group).

When I arrived, around 8:15, two young police officers had just arrested two of the individuals and were taking away a bicycle with a sleeping bag attached to it. I asked a friend what happened as was told they'd been "jacked up" by the police. I asked one of the police officers if they were short bicycles for their next police auction, and accused him of theft. Unfortunately I didn’t have a camera with me. We all helplessly watched as the man's bicycle was taken away, the two men already removed. Imagine you're having a picnic and the police arrive and take two of you away because they have labelled you as "trouble makers."

It’s this blatant disrespect for the law, for people less fortunate, this social profiling, that’s the precise reason so many showed up for the city council meeting. ViPIRG organizers have simple and clear demands: