Marchers missed opportunity to reach out to homeless

Marchers missed opportunity to reach out to homeless

Whose lives are testimony to abandonment, to blame, to harsh and retributive commentary.

Marchers missed opportunity to reach out to homeless

Re: Concern about Wellness Centre on York Road.

I am very heartened to read of the community’s support for a wellness centre for people living with addiction in our Valley. According to several people on Facebook and some marchers and organizers quoted in local media, everyone supports the concept.

It is just the location. You see, people dropping their kids off at school drive by the homeless shelter and they are already seeing far too much of what happens when you’re homeless and living with addiction. In this culture, in our society, it is like you are garbage, dumped to the side of the road. “Failed humans”, unable to overcome whatever trauma (ironically mostly childhood trauma — according to experts on addiction) that got you there in the first place. It is, admittedly, a fearful sight. Especially if the same authorities that dumped them there are assuring you they will not do the same when your turn comes. One can be forgiven for having doubts.

I think the marchers missed an opportunity on Saturday. Holding signs about being betrayed and sold out by their MLA or government, they walked right past the shelter, housing dozens of people who could have spoken the truth of that message loud and clear. Without the use of megaphones. Whose lives are testimony to abandonment, to blame, to harsh and retributive commentary.

What would it have been like if the march had paused at Warmland and, I don’t know, played ‘Imagine’ in the background, while helping those they seek better treatment options for to join the parade, share their stories and testify to the truth underlying the marchers’ fears?

What if, when the centre opens, as it surely will, the marchers returned bearing food and beverages, blankets and lawn chairs, pop-up shelters and recording devices? What if they surrounded those hopeless, abandoned people with as much love and care as they could, in a time of COVID and social distancing?

What if they said to this government that has just had the temerity to call an election in its own self interest, that they are not willing to support any political party that acts by half measures when it comes to supporting and treating the traumatized while doing all they are able to ensure their own political survival? What might change then?

I hope it is a response that will be considered. We are all in this together.

Keith Simmonds



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Picture of two swans leaving the Cowichan estuary moments before one was shot out of the sky. (Submitted photo)
Petition to stop hunting in Cowichan estuary after swan shot

Hunters blame shooting on illegal poachers

Volunteer Suzanne Anderson rings her bell at the Christmas kettle at Thrifty Foods on Nov. 20. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Volunteers needed for annual Christmas Kettle Campaign in Cowichan

Money used for Salvation Army’s Christmas Hamper Program

Kendra Thomas from Warmland Women’s Support Services invites Cowichan residents to find out more about youth sex trafficking with an online event Nov. 16, 2020. (File photo)
Learn more about youth sex trafficking with ‘Love Bombing 101’

Nov. 22-28 is Victims and Survivors of Crime Week

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
B.C. mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

B.C. projects targeting the restoration of sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser and Columbia Watersheds will share in $10.9 million of federal funding to protect species at risk. (Kenny Regan photo)
13 projects protecting B.C. aquatic species at risk receive $11 million in federal funding

Salmon and marine mammals expected to benefit from ecosystem-based approach

Barrels pictured outside Oliver winery, Quinta Ferreira, in May. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
B.C. Master of Wine reflects on industry’s teetering economic state

Pandemic, for some wine makers, has been a blessing in disguise. For others, not so much.

A fentanyl test strip is used at Vancouver Coastal Health in Vancouver, Tuesday, January, 21, 2020. The test strips will be made available to drug users to ensure that their drugs are safe and free of Fentanyl. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Drug overdoses lead to 5 deaths each day in October; drug toxicity continues to increase

COVID-19 crisis continues to exacerbate the overdose crisis

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

An employee of the Adventure Hotel was taken to hospital on Nov. 20 after she confronted a customer of Empire Coffee about not wearing a mask. File photo.
Nelson hotel employee suffers heart attack after being assaulted in anti-mask incident

An accountant at the Adventure Hotel is in hospital in Kelowna

Damien Smith, with father Thomas Smith, is “frozen” with joy as he watches a special message Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds recorded for Damien’s 9th birthday on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. (Contributed)
Shuswap boy celebrates 9th birthday with family, community and Ryan Reynolds

People from around the world send birthday cards showing young Canoe resident he’s not alone

The Trenton Golden Hawks are changing their name and uniform for one game on Nov. 27 as they become the Trenton Snowbirds for one game to honour Capt. Jennifer Casey. Twitter photo
Hockey team honouring fallen Snowbird with Island connection

The Trenton Golden Hawks will become the Trenton Snowbirds for one game

Most Read