Soap box time! This is an area very few would voluntarily go – the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, dubbed the poorest postal code in Canada. Consider yourself very lucky indeed, (and I do, every day) if you do not have a loved one, or know of someone ravaged by addiction, the grind of abject poverty, and a system that seems geared to sweep you and your kind under the carpet.
Tent cities crop up, and are summarily evicted, only to pop up elsewhere in the city – a result of no affordable housing infrastructure, nor any incentive for developers to undergo such a project. Sound familiar? Perhaps you have an equivalent issue in your own city.
Because I pass by this neighbourhood, on a daily commute, I am keenly aware of this ever-widening gulf between the affluent and the very poor. This has led to attitudes of contempt and revulsion towards the poor and damaged, as if their lifestyle was a choice. I am hardly among the affluent, who have the luxury to insulate themselves from this reality by either complete avoidance or making unhelpful blanket statements, such as ‘they’re animals’, in effect, dehumanizing them.
I do render ‘assistance’ to those in need in the community – this boils down to listening to their story, donating some food and sustenance. My family is not overly pleased that I do this (because of potential danger, especially when in those especially stricken areas of the inner city), though I do hope it will rub off on them, any compassion shown. They are human beings.
Thanks for reading my soap box interlude, the cartoons will be resuming (It’s what you get for visiting here!)