Thursday, March 22, 2012

Welcome to the End of Racism March 21 2012

Well anti-racism day is just about over for another year. Trying to figure out if this year is any different from any other year. I have Learned that it is not really. People are still being treated based on their economics, gender and skin color. This one of those few days that I have not been told how lucky I am because I don't have to pay taxes. This is wrong I have to pay taxes even though I have this little card that is handed out by the federal government that says "I don't have to pay." But because I don't have a "HOME ON RESERVE LAND" I have to pay; as if I stop being an Indian because "I am living off of reserve land." See Off reserve First Nations have to pay taxes like the rest of the world. Our health care is always second to the worse if it is not the worse and education is always a huge struggle for us to attain past grade eight because most of the schools are located off of reserve land and still being taught by non-status. Out health services and medications are not what our genetics are accustom to or delivered by our own people because there is not enough of us fully trained in the non-status ways. So the Indian Act that was introduced in 1967 designed to oppress First Nations and to a certain degree still does has succeeded in dismantling the spirit of being First Nations. It has created a lot of UN-necessary stress and hardship. It has killed a few of us physical as well as spiritual and it has allowed turtle island to continue to thieve on the oppression of FN people and the sweat equity of some of the world most marginalized working poor to come to this country for a better future. For this we must thank the corporations who continue to traffic human beings for their own gain. The gain of the corporate people like Embridge who are determined to ram their pipeline down our throats and up out butts all for the sake of their benefits and to destroy what is left of beautiful First Nations Territory

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Who is Rose Henry?

I am long visitor to the Songhees and Esquimalt territory. I have resided in the inner city for the past 25 years of the 27 years that I have lived here. I am cost Salish from Tle'men (Sli-am-mon); which is the nation that has just signed t fifth stage of a six stage treaty that will give of family a sense of independence from our governing bodies who have not ad-eared to their own rules and have imposed them on all First Nations. So this give you a little sense of where I come from. Which is a long history of community leadership and trail blazing of which I hope to continue to do so here in Victoria as your city Councilor. I am only limited by my willingness to really listen to my fellow visiting residents of Victoria. I am prepared to really listen to the wishes of the community with an open heart...and am prepared to give the necessary time need to hear the directions of Victoria residents

The wisdom of Rose

By Aaren Madden, October 2011 Focus Magazine

Coast Salish social activist Rose Henry believes homelessness in Victoria is getting worse and she wants to do something about it.

Rose Henry, a 27-year resident of Victoria, is a founder of the Victoria Committee to End Homelessness. She blogs at and At universities, churches and rallies, she speaks about poverty and human rights. She writes for and sells Victoria Street Newz.

The Together Against Poverty Society lists her on their board of directors, as does the BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre. BC PIAC is a nonprofit law office fighting for social justice issues ranging from foster care to poverty to human rights. Right now she’s pondering an invitation to return to the board of the Vancouver Island Human Rights Coalition. You could say she’s a little busy. She laughingly calls it “my ADHD.”

Henry is also a member of the Aboriginal Health Advisory Committee for Vancouver Women’s Health Centre, under whose purview falls Sunny Hill Health Centre. Which is some kind of justice, given the childhood years she spent there after being permanently removed from her Snuneymuxw First Nations family home.

At Sunny Hill, she was labelled mentally retarded. As an adult, she’s been labelled “protester, anarchist, Fist Nations Spokesperson, Homeless Advocate and professional agitator for waking people’s social conscious,” reads her BC PIAC biography. Says Henry herself, “I am just a person who is awake and cares about the world and is more than prepared to do the necessary work to improve the quality of life for everyone.” Above all, she wishes to be known as a builder of community; a destroyer of barriers.

I spotted Rose Henry as soon as I walked through the door of Victoria’s downtown library. She was sitting at a table, just to the right of the bank of public-use computers, where she used to spend hours managing all the irons in her fire. As I approach, she shakes my hand and shows me the sleek red laptop she now calls her own.

The computer was a gift from the Norwegian delegation at the International Network of Street Papers Conference she attended last July in Glasgow, Scotland, thanks to community donations that helped pay her way. She was short-listed for a Best Vendor Writing award for her article, “ Economic Violence.” She didn’t win, but the computer does nicely, thanks. This day, she’d just received an email containing a photograph of her, looking radiantly upward, hands spread wide in a gesture of sharing. It’s the September cover of =Oslo, that city’s street newspaper.

The accompanying feature reveals her journey. After Sunny Hill came foster care in Powell River. Although it was a supportive environment, homelessness and addiction followed with her coming of age. She was raped and left for dead as a young woman, yet she overcame that to have a son, get an education, and rise far beyond. In 2001 she attended the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, where she sat at the same table with Nelson Mandela. She found him “humble,” and wondered at his ability to endure so much and not become bitter. The highlight, though, was meeting her idol, social justice icon Angela Davis.

Clearly, she has learned a thing or two in her 53 years on Turtle Island. One thing she knows for sure is that we won’t rise above poverty and homelessness as a society unless we all sit at the same table. If we did, all decisions could be made through the lens of multiple benefits. Says Henry, “Let’s be proud of who we are and show the world that we can take care of our own people, the homeless and social issues, and show we are the most eco-friendly community.”

There are many possibilities, but one project she saw while in Scotland stands out. She toured a farm there that ran a transition program for people being released from prisons. “One acre of land was converted into a community garden. The growers can take their produce to the local markets or even street corners,” Henry explains. Some sell the street news along with fresh produce and have a growing clientele. “Holy mackerel, we have Woodwynn Farms not far from here!” she enthuses, suggesting similar programs could evolve there if—and hopefully when—the facility is able to reach its full potential. Further, the city’s overtaxed soup kitchens could be supplied by Woodwynn Farms or community gardens within city limits under similar programs. The potential for building (or rebuilding) skills, health, community, food security—lives, even—is in seeing people who are homeless as intrinsic and valuable to our whole community, she says.

“The number one requirement is educating the housed about who their real neighbours are: possibly your own relatives; your own flesh and blood. They are not evil trolls living under the bridge; they are productive members of society. We need to take a step back and re-evaluate ourselves when we are judging a person based on where they are living. And that is both ways: the homeless need to re-evaluate who they are looking at, too.” Neither is the enemy, Henry insists.

Once that happens, the possibilities are endless. Henry envisions the City solving social problems with a creative and integrated approach that actively includes the people experiencing poverty and homelessness in every civic endeavour. Take the Johnson Street Bridge. Its huge expense and controversy has pulled the focus off of the poverty and homelessness issues Mayor Dean Fortin was elected to address, but which she believes have grown worse. “It’s kind of a thorn in my side, but decisions have been made,” Henry concedes of the bridge issue, even while finding ways to realign the project to greater goals. “Let’s have a guarantee that the companies that are going to build this bridge hire local people. Let’s even say five percent of the people employed are living in poverty or homeless. Let’s ensure that when the lunch wagon comes along, it’s a local food supply. Let’s have some give and take,” she urges.

With those and many other ideas in mind, Henry has set her sights on a seat at one particular table. For the fourth time, she will be running for City Council in November’s election. She’d like to think “the city of Victoria is ready to break with tradition and take the risk and elect someone like me into City Hall; to see me as a councillor with the strength and tenacity to stick with whatever issues are tossed my way.” (In 2008 she got 3372 votes, placing 11th, with eight councillors elected.)

As we part, she summarizes her raison d’ĂȘtre: “I have a saying about Victoria. We have to restore unity back into community and understand homeless people are just homeless, not worthless. And if we work together as a team, as a family, in the end we are all going to benefit.”

I am a person who committed to supporting my community the best that I can. I am willing to continue to give of myself. But on some occasions I will not be able to attend all the all candidate meetings due to the fact that
I have just started a on call job as a community support worker. As I do realize that all candidate meeting are critical making the rent and paying for my way through life along with my family are also important. So I will attend my work responsibilities first and then I should be able to attend the later half of these vital meeting.

Exercising your democratic right to vote in your leader(s) on Nov 19th

My Stance on The People Assembly Victoria 2011

My stance on the occupation is that all people have the right to have
their voices heard. Yes I like you do not like having my personal
space invaded by other people ; but I also realize that the issues
that this encampment is about also effect most us directly or
indirectly. How the corporate companies does effect us all in multiple
ways and that is the message that has gotten lost in this occupation.
It is unfortunate some people feel that their voices or issues are not
being heard, others are to afraid to speak out because they fear
re-processions of any actions they take or not take; so they feel that
there is safety in numbers and that they can come to an event like
this one and be with other like minded people.

In my opinion to be a protestor you have to be well versed and
prepared to deal with the consequences. I choose to refer to people as
educators because being called a protester has been typed cast in a
negative way; which leaves no room for any kind of change. But being
called an educator has a much more dignified title and warm response
then protestor. The consequence of these educators are mainly negative
because of people's passion which sets the level of how individuals
act when they are trying to express themselves. The media also plays a
huge role in determining the image on how the demonstrations are
relayed to a wider audience. The reporters are conditioned to exposed
certain issues in ninety seconds to a maximum of three minutes on
certain issues. So there is not a lot that anyone can relay in this
time frame whether it is a good or a bad reporting.

The issues that this occupation is trying to speak out against did not
evolve in 90 seconds nor will the end happen in in the same time

What to do with the educators is apart of the real issues. How do we
as a society ensure that when the camp shuts down that the issues are
heard, the occupants are not arrested and charged and that they leave
the place in a respect full way. This is a key concern as this most
like not going to be the last of this type of action. This action is
happening all over the world at the same time and carrying the same do we stop the corporate greed from creating more
poverty, suicide, homelessness and exploitation of every living thing?

We need to some how come to the decision making table on how to
dismantle to occupation or to relocate this community if we cannot
resolve this issue.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Get Out and Vote on Nov 19th in British Columbia

On November 19th, a vote for Rose will be a vote for social justice and an effective way to challenge the barriers of race, class and gender privilege that typically prevail in the realms of political decision-making.

Rose has contributed 27 years of mostly volunteer front line community-based social services for the poor and marginalized in this city. Her many activities have included:

*anti-racism education.

*advocate for literacy and access to education as a tool for empowering the poor and marginalized. Giving recognition to the thoughts that education is a part of the solution to helping with eradication of poverty.

*instrumental in starting up local community economic development projects the Bent Nail recycling wood project, which allowed the poor and the street community entrance into work force.

* advocated for the creation of the Needle Exchange, ensuring the safety of drug users in the city.

* spearheading the effort to promote the right of the homeless to vote in elections, 1990

*author and distribution of the Red Zone and Street Newz, street community publications

*represented the Victoria community at the Global Anti-racism conference in Durban South Africa

*Organized the B.C Womyn's Walkout for recognition of the value of unpaid women's work and the impacts of poverty on women.

*Organized the public burning of ballots during the Liberal government's racist referendum on aboriginal rights.

*Consistent advocate on behalf of the poor: mobilizing campaigns against the anti-panhandling by-law, for the right to access public benches, against transit fare increases, and for affordable housing.

Highlight of Most Recent Struggles:

-persisting in a 3.5 years court battle with the federal government over the voter ID requirements (Bill C-31 of the Electoral Act).

-In last year's infamous Supreme Court case, Victoria vs. Adams, Rose was a key witness and supporter of the right of homeless people to erect shelter.

-Rose continues in this struggle for the right of unhoused people to live in Victoria's parks and boulevards, specifically by supporting the campaign to challenge the City of Victoria's new Traffics Bylaw.

As most of you would know, local social activist Rose Henry has entered her third campaign to break the cultural barrier at City Hall in becoming the first aboriginal person on council.

Over the past three years I have had the privilage of of working with Dr. Budd Hall Professor Director of the Office of Community-Based Research from UVic (OBCR), Dr. Bernadette (Bernie) Pauly RN, Ph.D
Associate Professor, School of Nursing Scientist, Centre For Addictions Research of B.C. (CARBC) & (Homeless, Housing and Health Research team and Street Stories) and Dr. Jutta Gutberlet - associate professor (MOTHERS" Project-Binning).

Here is what she stands for:

Rose is an outstanding voice for the poor and the homeless in our community, having devoted an accumulated almost two decades of service at the Native Friendship Centre, Sandy Merriman House shelter for women, Victoria Street Community Association, Together Against Poverty Association and the Vancouver Human Rights Coalition. She stands up for the rights of the most marginalized and dispossessed in our city.

She is herself a survivor of a racist colonial system and the foster care system and who faces the multiple barriers of being a First Nations woman, a visible minority, who has lived in poverty her whole life and who has the great strength of being able to authentically represent the reality, issues and needs of a whole segment of the population whose voices are systematically excluded and ignored in the realms of political power, privilege and decision-making.

City Hall has long been the domain of the privilege and the comfortable, the educated and the middle class.

It is no coincidence that the issues affecting the poor are year after year given short shrift. Class interests on city council have almost unanimously been with those who stand for big development and private profits before people's real needs, affordable housing, public transit and poverty alleviation.

Rose is no newcomer to social justice struggles. She operates on substance and not slick. She is one person who will put the urgency of Victoria's pressing social issues at the top (rather than the bottom) of the agenda at City Hall. She is a compassionate and hard-working advocate who will serve beyond the call of duty to press for solutions to the growing problems that our community faces: addiction, homelessness, intolerance, housing affordability, public safety.

Rose has stood with all of us in the social justice community for a long time. It's time that we stood with her now.

Rose can be reached at or on her Face Book "Rose Henry Group"

Rose Henry Campaign Team

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Victoria Vision: From Rose Henry

Victoria Vision: From Rose Henry

Thursday Oct 27 Rose Henry Campaign Meeting

Apologies everyone, but we need to reschedule the meeting for tomorrow from 3 pm until thursday oct 27th at 3 pm. If you can not make the meeting please forward any suggestions, resources, or issues you wish to have discussed to my email please confirm if you are able to attend. Finally, please feel free to invite any other person of integrity of any "walk of life" and who wants to support Rose to attend. I look forward to hearing from you regarding your availability or comments/resources you feel are important for us to consider in our efforts to support Rose.