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Voices of the Street: Why I Choose to Stay

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The Voices of the Street podcast makes its debut on Below the Radar! Over the next six weeks, follow along as Megaphone storytellers weave tales and read from the 2021 Voices of the Street anthology. In this first installment, we hear from poet, writer, actor, research tech and overdose responder Nicolas Leech-Crier, in conversation with your host for this episode, Mr. Essential.Nicolas shares his journey with Megaphone and how he's cultivated a passion and skill for community storytelling and journalism. He also reads his original poem, "Why I Choose to Stay," published in the 2021 issue of Voices of the Street — speaking to the piece as an accumulation of his lived experiences on the streets and his insights into fighting stigma with stories, empathy and love.Due to Nicolas's story featuring trauma-heavy content, should the poem or anything said during the episode have an adverse effect on your emotional or mental health, we recommend you stop listening to the podcast and refer to your best practices of self-comfort and/or seek support (links provided below).Listeners are invited to reach out to Nicolas, the creator of this episode, at if they would like to discuss the contents of the episode.
Nicolas Leech-Crier (and his secret identity, "Mr. Essential") is an adoptee of Cree heritage and a freelance writer.At 43 years old he has spent approximately half his life surviving in the streets and more than a decade in the DTES. It never occurred to him that being a "drug user" would ever be useful, but thanks to the incredible support and loving friendship shown to him by his many neighbours and friends in the DTES, he's parlayed his street smarts and community connections into a successful career as an overdose responder and outreach worker.In 2018, Nicolas became a coordinator and facilitator for the Speakers Bureau at Megaphone and just recently his title was upgraded to Storytelling and Community Networking Liaison. (Mr. Essential's title remains the same: One-time Imaginary Podcast Host of Some Notoriety). In everything he does — from powerful plays, to playful pictures, or post-secondary presentations and paradigm-shifting podcasts — he sends love to his 11-year-old son, Money. Resources: — Crisis Centre BC:— Indian Residential School Survivors Society: — KUU-US Crisis Line: — WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre:— BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services:— UBC Transformative Health and Justice Research Cluster:— BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services - UNITE Project:— Megaphone Speakers Bureau:
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