Content Warning: The stories in this series deal with difficult and sometimes traumatic topics. Please practice self care, stop listening, and seek help if you need to. Scroll down to find links to available supports. Be transported into the soundscapes of two different poems.This installment of the Voices of the Street podcast is produced by Jules Chapman, a writer and peer support worker who is deeply involved in the Downtown Eastside community. Jules reads from the Voices of the Street anthology, sharing Elaine Schell's "The Din from Within" and the original poem that Jules was inspired to write in response. These pieces take us through writerly reflections on poetic expression, getting to know yourself, processing through writing and sharing creative work with the world.
Jules was born and raised in Kitsilano, but has spent most of her adult life in the Downtown Eastside.Jules is no stranger to activism. She's a peer support/outreach worker for SWUAV (Sex Workers United Against Violence) and is involved with the B.C. Association for People on Methadone and the B.C. Centre on Substance Use. Jules is a co-author of Research 101 Ethics Manifesto, Community Ethics & Cultural Production Empowering Informed Consent Cards and Opioids, A Survivor's Guide. She is one of the first peers/vendors from Megaphone to have completed a peer journalism mentorship through Megaphone and Langara College. Jules has been a Megaphone vendor since 2003 and joined Megaphone's Speakers Bureau in 2019. Jules feels at home in the DTES, saying there is no other community like it. And she has a message for those outside the DTES who are dismissive of its residents and the formidable challenges they face: "Stop acting like it's not their problem. It is everyone's problem." The two most pressing issues, Jules says, are the lack of affordable housing and the ongoing overdose crisis. Elaine Schell was born and raised in southern Ontario and came to B.C. in the early 1990s when she was in her 20s.Her landing in Vancouver was a rough one, with Elaine living on the streets for a few months. But getting connected through the Carnegie Community Centre and other people who were also struggling helped Elaine find her feet.With a collection of others, Elaine says she helped co-found an early incarnation of The Gathering Place, which is now a thriving community centre in downtown Vancouver that offers a place for Downtown Eastside residents to have a meal, take a shower, access a health clinic or participate in activities.Elaine has been writing poems since she was a kid. "I come from a family of readers, writers and storytellers," she says, "but life kind of got in the way."Elaine continues to find inspiration in the world around her through reading scriptures, writing, family, friends, nature and local events of the day. "It's all one big beautiful world to play in, and I'm grateful to be a part of it. Resources: Mental Health Support:— Crisis Centre BC:https://crisiscentre.bc.ca/— Indian Residential School Survivors Society:https://www.irsss.ca/services — KUU-US Crisis Line:https://www.kuu-uscrisisline.com/ — WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre:https://www.wavaw.ca/— BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services:http://www.bcmhsus.ca/ More Resources:— Opioid Survivors Guide: www.bccsu.ca/opioids-survivors-guide— Empowering Informed Consent: community ethics and cultural production: https://open.library.ubc.ca/cIRcle/collections/ubccommunityandpartnerspublicati/52387/items/1.0381026— Research 101: A Manifesto for Ethical Research in the Downtown Eastside:https://open.library.ubc.ca/cIRcle/collections/ubccommunityandpartnerspublicati/52387/items/1.0377565
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