Friday, October 31, 2008

My Committment in 2008


I have spent the last several years proving that I can overcome any barrier put in my way with the help of community. Now I would like to show everyone that I can truly be a leader at the municipal level in our local government; meaning that I can bring true equality through diversity and calmness. My family has always said that I have a lot of tenacity in overcoming barriers.

I know that it is now, that we the people, who have lived the talk and done the journey for social change, must step up to the plate and take action at the municipal level.

I am the type of person who will give a hundred and ten percent of myself and am willing to speak out on the issues that affect us all.

I am more than a poverty/ homelessness activist who has lived in the down town core for the past twenty-five years. I have ideas and dreams I’m prepared to act on - through collective, community consensus which means improving the quality of our community for everyone.

I am prepared to meet with citizens on a regular basis, at the community level and locations that are most convenient for them.

I came to Victoria during a general strike in 1983. Change was afoot. I had never seen so many homeless people or drug addicts. Nor so many social services programs so readily available until I moved to Victoria.
However, I had also never seen so many people not caring about the un-housed or sick people until I moved here either.

I grew up in a foster home in Powell River where you knew if you were sick you would be cared for by your family and a doctor. If you were hungry you could go to your back yard and pick food from the garden. I’d never seen a food bank until I moved here – and I’d never had to use one until I moved here.

As a firm believer in access to good healthy food; especially if it means it is coming from a garden, I believe if you don't have your own yard then a community garden is just as good and should be accessible for everyone.

I very much support “grow local/ buy local” for a healthier community.

Victoria has changed so much in the last few years I think that it is time to step up to the plate and start speaking out - in a place where there is a chance that I can really make a difference.

I want to deliver to Victoria a commitment of speaking for the people that live here year round.

I am a person who operates with “no nonsense” values and an open mind to real solutions. I want to stop putting aside certain social issues, such as poverty and homelessness, which go untouched from one election to the next - because it is obvious to me that these issues are important to the community. These serious concerns deserve immediate action – not just electioneering promises that soon fall by the wayside.

I am the type of person who no longer complains about anything unless I am willing to do something about it.

I have spent years speaking out about social issues that have been rehashed hundreds of times by every level of government; only to have nothing resolved. I believe it is time to put a stop to this recycling of old issues that are costing us more then we can afford. Let’s actually do something for a change.

Some people don't believe that I can do the job because I am not a rich person and because I am out on the street selling the Street Newz or seen talking to the homeless. But I am not afraid of doing grunt work. And I don’t run and hide from the real world. I do my job and I walk my talk.
Some say I don't give direct responses or act fast enough. I say that I can because I think and react from my heart. I think in two different nationalities: first in a community (indigenous) way; second in the colonist's way. I walk between two cultures. Both of which help me respond with a dream for a better community to live in.

If you look at my previous campaigns, you will see I have already gained considerable support in the community. In the last two municipal elections I had 3,339 votes in 2005 and 3,491 in 2002. I believe in 2008 I can beat these numbers and represent Victorians at city council with energy, commitment and a resolve to:
- regain Victoria’s unique beauty that has put us on the map and makes us distinct from Vancouver
- to help increase community involvement in issues that concern us all by getting out there and engaging citizens where they are
- To encourage a municipal high emotional IQ - that embraces social responsibly!


Over the years I have worked as an active member of community organizations:

- Together Against Poverty Society ( member and board director - 18 years)

- Victoria Native Friendship Centre (member and board director-5 years)

- Capital Region Race Relations Association (member, volunteer and board
director 4 years)

Vancouver Island Human Rights Coalition(member and board director 4

Vancouver Island Human Rights Foundation (
member 3 years)

The Victoria Street Community Association (Volunteer)


- I would like to see some old things returned to what made Victoria such a beautiful city twenty-five years ago - and some new things added to make it a livable city for all people.

- More affordable housing for growing families and empty nesters alike.

- More single family homes preserved.

- Bylaws assigning a certain percentage of existing condos to be converted to subsidized rent or rent-to-own for people on low income. As it stands now, far too many condos remain empty, owned by out of town investors, while the city faces a dire housing shortage.

- By-laws changed so that property owners cannot allow lots and buildings to sit vacant thus giving the city’s image a derelict look.

-Community housing. An increase in co-housing and cooperatives.

- More bike lanes.

- A Free Bus zone in the downtown core.

- An expanded park 'N Ride service.

- More community gardens. Less people needing to use the food banks means a healthier and more productive society.

Some of the old things that I would like to see returned are more public pay phones, toilet facilities, bus benches (so the elderly and handicapped in particular have somewhere to sit), expanded bus service (to encourage people to park their cars and help with carbon reduction), park benches and free community entertainment.
And finally, being able to recapture our pride in living in one of the most livable, accessible and cleanest cities in North America.


My experience living here in Victoria goes beyond campaigning directly for social issues. I do believe in getting involved with my community and have been more than willing to learn new things. I am also no longer afraid to ask for help.

I have been involved with the creation of many different services and housing projects through my volunteer work with the Victoria Street Community Association. Services like the Medewin House, Needle Exchange, Bent Nail, Sandy Merriman House and street advocacy were all started through the homeless community with which I have been directly involved since the 1990s. Here I learned more about working for the community by empowering some of the most disadvantaged members of our society and the importance of working with our local government. We address housing, health issues,
employment and advocacy from the grass roots.

I’ve helped fight for the rights of the homeless to be able to vote by getting the provincial elections office to come to the street community and register the homeless so that they could vote.

In 2001 I had the honour of traveling to Durban South Africa attending the world conference on Racism thanks to the citizens of Victoria who donated and fund raised to send me there, because they believed in me, the street advocacy I had done, my ability to work hard and my understanding it takes community building to make change. I would like to see that same belief restored in me as your community representative.


I currently work with Homeless Nation (.org) and have done so for a year and a half. Homeless Nation is an online web service that was created by the homeless, for the homeless which employs people who have had the experience being homeless themselves. It is a website that allows the homeless to tell their stories. My role as someone who has experience in being homeless is to reach out to the homeless community and teach them how to do film and web-logging. This increases their employable skills while also opening up avenues for the housed to grasp a better understanding of homeless people and their real lives and experiences. I would like to encourage people to check this website out and see and read first hand what the homeless have to say and what I have been doing to build a better community for us all.

As a candidate for Victoria City Council I have a proven track record of actually fulfilling my commitments regardless of obstacles. I’ve taken the time to meet with people from all walks of life, worked hard and tirelessly for the disenfranchised of our community for decades – even while facing poverty and sometimes homelessness myself. I steadfastly put my time into the organizations I believe make a positive difference to our city. I’ve come a long way and I’d like you to help me gain better traction to help you, my fellow community members. Let’s put Victoria back on the map with integrity. Vote Rose Henry for Victoria City Council

Monday, September 29, 2008

How Quickly We Forget About the Fight For Our Rights to Vote

HOW QUICKLY WE FORGET, IF WE EVER KNEW, WHY WOMEN SHOULD VOTE.This is the story of our Grandmothers and Great-grandmothers; they lived only 90 years ago.

Remember, it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote.

The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were led none the less for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote.

(Lucy Burns)
And by the end of the night, they were barely alive.Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden's blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted obstructing sidewalk traffic.'They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and
gasping for air.

(Dora Lewis)

They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cell mate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack.Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging,beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.Thus unfolded the 'Night
of Terror' on Nov. 15, 1917,when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right to vote.For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their food--all of it colorless slop--was infested with worms.

(Alice Paul)

When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited.
She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.
http://memory. collections/ suffrage/ nwp/prisoners. pdf

So, refresh my memory. Some women won't vote this year because--why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn't matter? It's raining?

In 2008 we still don't think we count and we wonder how society is getting away with committing multiple crimes on women and why so many are missing and murdered and never been found. Society is getting away with committing these crimes because we cannot afford to spend thirty minutes every three or four years to cast our ballot or attend a all candidates meeting.
Politicians says they are doing what is good for us but how can they when we haven't expressed them.

We should not have to have another 3000 missing and presumed murdered women gone before we take the time to cast our ballot. One of those missing women could be our mother, daughter, grandmother or auntie . Nor should we wait until more blood is shed in another country.

(Mrs. Pauline Adams
in the prison garb she wore while serving a sixty-day sentence.)Last week, I went to a sparsely attended screening of HBO's new movie 'Iron Jawed Angels.' It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that I
could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have my say. I am ashamed to say I needed the reminder.

(Miss Edith Ainge,
of Jamestown , New York )

All these years later, voter registration is still my passion. But the actual act of voting had become less personal for me, more rote.Frankly, voting often felt more like an obligation than a privilege. Sometimes it was inconvenient.

(Berthe Arnold
, CSU graduate)

My friend Wendy, who is my age and studied women's history, saw the HBO movie, too.
When she stopped by my desk to talk about it, she looked angry. She was--with herself. 'One thought kept coming back to me as I watched that movie,' she said.
'What would those women think of the way I use, or don't use, my right to vote? All of us take it for granted now, not just younger women, but those of us who did seek to learn.' The right to vote, she said, had become valuable to her 'all over again.'HBO released the movie on video and DVD . I wish all history,social studies
and government teachers would include the movie in their curriculum I want it shown on Bunco night, too, and any where else women gather. I realize this isn't our usual idea of socializing,but we are not voting in the numbers that we should be, and I think a little shock therapy is in order.

(Conferring over ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution at National Woman's Party headquarters, Jackson Place , Washington , D.C. . L-R Mrs. Lawrence Lewis, Mrs. Abby Scott Baker, Anita Pollitzer, Alice Paul, Florence Boeckel, Mabel Vernon (standing, right))

It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn't make her crazy.The doctor admonished the men: 'Courage in women
is often mistaken for insanity.'We need to get out and vote and use this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women. Whether you vote NDP, liberal, conservative, democratic, republican or independent party -- remember to vote.

(Helena Hill Weed, Norwalk , Conn. Serving 3 day sentence in D.C. prison for carrying banner, 'Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.')