Join us for two events in a celebration of Maple Ridge’s homeless community leaders!
Making and marking history in low-income community struggle at the edge of Metro Vancouver
On May 2nd 2017 a small group of homeless people and supporters marched from Maple Ridge’s soon-to-close Rain City homeless shelter to a city-owned and fenced-in empty lot, broke-open a gate, and set up 20 tents, launching Anita Place Tent City. Over the following days, weeks, and months, Anita Place became many things to low-income and homeless people in Maple Ridge and their allies: a home for the homeless, a sanctuary for people stigmatized and attacked in the rest of the town, a defence against the opioid overdose crisis, a political vehicle to fight for housing justice and against displacement, and, most importantly, a place where low-income people can realize their community, and their freedom.
On the one year anniversary of the beginning of Anita Place Tent City, homeless residents of the camp are inviting the broader community to come to camp. We are inviting you to learn about the lives of homeless people in Maple Ridge and the government and economic structures that make and keep people homeless, and to celebrate the achievements of homeless leaders who have transformed this city forever.
EVENT 1 // WALKING TOUR OF ANITA PLACE TENT CITY
When: Saturday April 28th // Two tours starting at 2:00pm and 3:00pm, with an open house in the warming tent from 2pm to 4pm.
Where: Starting at the gates of Anita Place Tent City, 223rd Street at St. Anne Ave, 2 blocks south of Lougheed Hwy, Maple Ridge
Anita Place Tent City is inviting you to a guided walking tour of the camp. We will begin with a short history of why and how Anita Place began and then will walk the gravel pathways of camp to visit stations throughout camp, to hear about a day in the life, surviving a winter, surviving an overdose epidemic, and more.
There will be two walking tour sections and we are asking people to register in advance by registering for tickets on EventBrite (find the page on the Anita Place Facebook page or here https://goo.gl/873Pir) with your name, contact information, any mobility needs you may have, and how many will be in your party.
EVENT 2 // TOWNHALL
What: Townhall discussion: Individual Responsibility or Economic Crisis? The class & colonial roots of poverty and homelessness in Maple Ridge
When: Tuesday May 2nd, 6:30pm
Where: Anita Place tent city warming tent (223rd Street at St. Anne Ave, 2 blocks south of Lougheed Hwy, Maple Ridge)
On the one-year anniversary of the launch of Anita Place tent city, homeless campers and Alliance Against Displacement welcome you to come take part in a community townhall about the causes of homelessness in British Columbia. The Facebook message boards and newspaper comments sections are full of accusations against homeless people, accusing them of being drug users or people with mental health illnesses who are (one way or another) responsible for their conditions of severe poverty and homelessness. These explanations also bracket government policies that treat homeless people as patients in need of institutionalized care rather than as victims of unjust economic and social systems and structures of power.
At this townhall panel, homeless residents of Anita Place, activists, and experts will critique the idea that poverty exists because of the fault of poor people. Instead, we will argue that homelessness and poverty is widespread because of structural, systemic problems with capitalism and colonialism. This argument is important because it brings our communities to a different solution. If poor people are responsible for their poverty then poor people must change. But if Canadian society is responsible for the existence of poverty, then it is Canada that must be changed – and it is low-income working class and Indigenous people who are leading this change.
These events will not be a venue for anti-homeless or anti-drug user hatred and we are not inviting anti-homeless bigots to a debate. You are welcome if you are supportive of the camp, if you are curious about the camp, and if you have questions and can come and hear with an open heart.