My COMMITMENT TO THE CITY OF VICTORIA
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!
* COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT*
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)
*MY VISION FOR CHANGE*
- 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