Implementing UNDRIP in the City of Vancouver

 

On March 9th, 2021, Councillor Boyle will introduce a motion on Implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) in the City of Vancouver.

The motion has been developed in collaboration with a working group of Indigenous community leaders, and has been reviewed and supported by the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

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School Liaison Officers -- we need your voice!

Over the past few months, many of you have reached out to share your thoughts about the School Liaison Officer (SLO) program in Vancouver schools. The SLO program involves 17 Vancouver Police Officers and 1 RCMP Officer who are funded by the Vancouver Police Department and RCMP, and have office space in 18 secondary schools. They interact with upwards of 48,000 children in their daily K-12 education. 

I am writing to provide an update and tell you more about how you can have your voice heard on this issue.

Back in June 2020, I voted to suspend the SLO program. I listened to hundreds of parents and students describe how having police officers in school made them feel less, not more, safe. I had serious concerns about the presence of police in schools undermining the Access Without Fear guidelines (pdf) for families with uncertain immigration status, the VSB’s affirmation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the history of policing failures for Indigenous and Black students and families. 

The VSB did not suspend the program and instead proceeded with an external review of the program. A report from that review is scheduled to come back to the Vancouver School Board Policy and Governance Committee on March 3 (TODAY). I look forward to hearing that review with an open mind even though I am deeply concerned with the lack of transparency and accessibility in the review process. 

The trustees will discuss the report at the March 8 School Board meeting. I’ll be looking for trustees around the table to listen to young people’s voices, especially Black and Indigenous students. I will be calling on trustees to do more than pay lip service to anti-racism and success for each student - I will be looking for them to do the harder work of actually living up to those commitments. For more on this topic, read this excellent op-ed by Jamie Smallboy, Krista Sigurdson and Kyla Epstein

Join me in holding the VSB accountable

  • The Trustees need to hear from students, parents, and community members as this report is heard and considered. We also need to be held to our highest values of equity, inclusion, and accessibility. 
  • If you are a parent, student, or former student with something important to say about the SLO program, sign up to speak to the VSB on March 8. The deadline is noon, March 5th and you can find out how to sign up here
  • If you are on a PAC, talk to your PAC about the SLO program and the review. Vancouver teachers (VESTA) and district parent reps (DPAC) have taken a position in favour of cancelling the school liaison officer (SLO) program and have provided feedback in the consultation process. 
  • Email the trustees to speak out on the SLO program, any concerns you have about the review process, and the values you’ll be looking for them to uphold. 
  • Watch the March 3 Policy and Governance Committee meeting (5:00 pm TODAY) and the March 8 School Board meeting (7 pm) (request by noon on Friday March 5th) . Links to livestreams are posted on the VSB Twitter page as well as through their online calendar

Want to learn more?

  • The Cops out of Schools group speaks out on this issue on Twitter and Instagram and has calls to action.
  • The Tyee has covered the Vancouver SLO program. Read Katie Hyslop’s articles here and here
  • I participated in a webinar called The Case for Police-Free Schools. You can watch it here.

All the best,

Jennifer Reddy


New Volunteer Positions!

OneCity is excited to begin recruiting for new volunteer positions -- these Coordinator positions will support OneCity Vancouver in their designated area.  If you are interested in being part of the OneCity team, this is a great opportunity to do so! 

At this time, we are looking for 3 Coordinators -- Digital, Communications and Research.  We expect these positions to be 1-2 hour/week positions.  Please see descriptions and application instructions below!

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Press Release: Keep Public Lands in Public Hands

MEDIA RELEASE:

VANCOUVER SCHOOL BOARD TRUSTEE CALLS FOR BAN ON SALE OF SCHOOL BOARD’S PUBLIC LAND


January 20th, 2021, Vancouver, BC – On Monday, January 25th, OneCity Vancouver School Board Trustee Jennifer Reddy will introduce a motion calling for a ban on the sale of land owned by the Vancouver School Board.

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Black Lives Matter

Like so many of you, we’re shaken and saddened by the recent murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of US police officers. In Toronto, the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of Regis Korchinski-Paquet are also deeply troubling. We are profoundly concerned by the ways white supremacy, institutional racism, and police brutality continue to thrive, though we are inspired by the protests and challenges to power that have been sparked by these horrific events.

Black lives matter. We stand in solidarity with those demanding justice for Black communities. We stand in solidarity with all Black people for whom institutional racism causes harm and deep pain.

We ask you to join us as we work to turn that fear and grief into action. Our response to violence and racism is to issue a challenge to them -- always. We must do this as individuals and organizations. We will continue to stand in solidarity with struggles for racial, economic, social, and environmental justice for Black communities. We see these endeavours as interconnected to all of our work for justice.

School Trustee Jennifer Reddy will continue to fight for equity in public education, including ensuring that our schools are places where Black students can learn in dignity and safety . Councillor Christine Boyle will continue to support anti-racism work by amplifying the voices of Black communities and leaders, and challenging the idea that policing is the solution to all of the problems our communities face.

As activists, and as a political party, we will continue to centre the voices of those our society marginalizes. We will foreground policies that ensure justice and dignity for all, and not just a few.

Please take a few minutes to check out this list of resources, including links to organizations fighting racism and supporting Black communities. You can scroll down to a list of Canada-specific organizations. If you would like to help Black communities in BC, please consider donating to the Black in BC Community Support Fund for COVID-19


Letter to the Board of Directors of the Greater Vancouver Food Bank

Dear Greater Vancouver Food Bank's Board of Directors,

We know that food banks have long been a critical source of support for those in need in this city. And this pandemic has shone a light on the importance of the social infrastructures that are in place to support those who are in need.

Equity and inclusion are part of OneCity’s core values as an organization. Our thousands of members and supporters across the city are working to build an equitable and inclusive city, where those who are marginalized, precarious and vulnerable can still feel supported and engaged. As you are well-aware, food security is a critical part of the social supports that help those who are most in need to participate and stay engaged in civic life.

For this reason, we are deeply troubled to learn about GVFB’s new policies for those in need to access food banks, including requiring proof of residency and proof of income from those hoping to access your services.

Research and evidence show that the majority of food bank users are legitimately in need. We’re deeply concerned that requiring proof of residency and income will discourage and keep those who are most in need from using food banks. This group can include those who are homeless, recent and non-status newcomers who lack documentation, and anyone who feels stigmatized for using food banks.

We urge the GVFB Board to heed the call from so many from the food security community, community groups, and residents, to revisit and remove the barriers that are being put in place for food bank users through these new policies. These changes will hurt those who are most in need.

Thank you for the work that you do. And we hope that the concerns raised by so many in the Greater Vancouver community will help improve the important service you provide.



Sincerely,

Anna & Laura, Co-Chairs
OneCity Vancouver


Justice in Recovery

This content was originally sent by email to those on our OneCity email list. Want to sign up for our newsletters?  Please do!

 

Dear Friend --

As British Columbia and Vancouver move towards a tentative re-opening of public and economic life, OneCity organizers and elected officials are reflecting on our priorities for economic and educational renewal in Vancouver, and the principles that will guide our work.

First, we strongly endorse the work of the non-partisan Just Recovery Coalition. We hope all municipal political parties will embrace the principles laid out in the Coalition’s Joint Statement as we work collaboratively to respond to this crisis in ways that lift everyone up.

Moving forward, OneCity’s work will be guided by 3 main principles:

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In solidarity with Wet’suwet’en peoples

OneCity stands in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en peoples who are defending their homelands, their rights, and their culture from the reckless destruction of their territories and their spiritual and cultural sites. 

Coastal GasLink, emboldened by court injunction and the support of the RCMP,  is determined to proceed with their destructive pipeline in defiance of a recent eviction notice from Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which the Province of British Columbia promises to implement through a recently passed law, requires public projects to obtain “free, prior and informed consent” from impacted Indigenous peoples. 

The actions of Coastal GasLink, the BC Supreme Court, and the RCMP to willfully ignore the Indigenous legal systems of the Wet’suwet’en, to trespass and destroy Wet’suwet’en lands, and to criminalize Indigenous land-defenders demonstrate a blatant disregard for the standards and principles of reconciliation enshrined in the UN Declaration and the Calls-to-Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. These actions represent a direct infringement of the human rights of Indigenous peoples. 

With the aim of enforcing an injunction, last January RCMP in full tactical gear stormed Wet’suwet’en territory armed with assault rifles, and was reportedly authorized to use lethal force. Now, with a new injunction passed, the threat of violence is ever-present. 

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has called on Canada to immediately stop the construction of the Coastal GasLink Pipeline. They express deep concern with the lack of Indigenous free, prior and informed consent, alongside the forced removal, disproportionate use of force, harassment, intimidation and the escalating threat of violence that have been associated with this project. 

We at OneCity hold these same concerns. “The Wet’suwet’en nation are our northern neighbours and many Wet’suwet’en people call Vancouver home,” says OneCity School Trustee Jennifer Reddy. She recently moved a motion to have the Vancouver School Board commit to implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. “The rights and title of Indigenous peoples must be respected.” 

OneCity remains committed to justice, reconciliation, and to tackling the climate emergency. OneCity City Councillor Christine Boyle says, “our work on climate justice and social justice in this city cannot be separated from the current struggle on Wet’suwet’en land. Indigenous rights and Indigenous land-defenders must be respected if we are to make progress on combating climate change.”

OneCity calls for an end to this display of colonial power which undermines any work done towards reconciliation. We call on the provincial government to de-escalate the situation through a commitment to non-violence and to co-developing solutions alongside the Wet’suwet’en hereditary leadership. We call on all parties to respect the human rights of Indigenous peoples, on the RCMP and Coastal GasLink to immediately halt their aggressive actions, and on our local communities to support the Wet’suwet’en peoples. 

Please consider taking action to support the West’suwet’en:

Donate: links at unistoten.camp & yintahaccess.com

Solidarity actions and Supporter Toolkit at unistoten.camp

Bridge over the Wedzin Kwa (Morice River) in Wet'suwet'en territory December 2019 - Photo by Michael Toledano

[Bridge over the Wedzin Kwa (Morice River) in Wet'suwet'en territory December 2019 - Photo by Michael Toledano]


In the Midst of Housing Crisis, OneCity Councillor Proposes Low-Income Housing in Every Neighbourhood

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 9th, 2019

In the Midst of Housing Crisis, OneCity Councillor Proposes Low-Income Housing in Every Neighbourhood   

OneCity Vancouver Councillor Christine Boyle is bringing forward a motion to explore allowing temporary modular housing in all neighbourhoods of Vancouver. 

As recent events in Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park have highlighted, Vancouver is in the midst of a housing crisis. A crisis most acutely impacting low-income residents, and Vancouverites already dealing with impacts of the opioid crisis, mental-health illnesses and physical disabilities. New solutions need to be identified and put into action. 

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Thank you... we've come so far

I couldn't help but write this blog post today, because.... DEPUTY MAYOR!!!

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