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. For the third installment of the Voices of the Street podcast, we have a candid and heartful conversation between host Yvonne Mark and Megaphone writer Dennis Gates in response to his piece "Without Prejudice," published in the 2021 Voices of the Street anthology.In his piece, Dennis writes about his experiences of anti-Indigenous discrimination and injustice within the court system and the deep-felt impact of incarceration on his life. Yvonne and Dennis reflect on both their experiences with the criminal justice system, finding strength through writing, and the importance of sharing stories like theirs.This episode was curated and hosted by poet, storyteller and Megaphone vendor, Yvonne Mark, an avid writer and advocate for ending stigma around substance use.
Yvonne Mark (Nisga'a-Gitxsan) was born in Haida Gwaii.Her parents had moved the family there so Yvonne wouldn't have to go to residential school. She came to Vancouver when she was 16. In addition to her volunteer work at Carnegie Community Centre, Yvonne is a Megaphone vendor and member of Megaphone's Speakers Bureau, working to end stigma around substance use. She has taken part in Megaphone's Community Journalism 101 writing workshop, held in partnership with SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement, and is an outspoken advocate for the Downtown Eastside. Dennis Gates (Haida), at 60 years old, has lived in the Downtown Eastside for 25 years. He says he is proud to still be learning new things about himself.As a participant in Megaphone's recent writing workshops for people with lived experience of incarceration — offered through a partnership with the UBC Transformative Health and Justice Research Cluster — Dennis was able to explore and express himself for the first time since being released from a federal institution in 1996, about what it was like to go to prison."The first thing you do when you finish a long bit in prison is sit down on the sidewalk and cry," Dennis says. "A 10-year sentence is frightening to remember, but these workshops, and all the people involved, have shown me a new confidence. And if this work can help someone inside not give up hope, then I am honoured." 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:— Yvonne's website - I Live to Tell: https://www.ilivetotell.ca/— Pivot Legal Society: https://www.pivotlegal.org/— BC Civil Liberties Association: https://bccla.org/
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