Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Rose Henry running for council

Here is what was posted on Vibrant Victoria

On November 20th, a vote for Rose will be a vote for social justice and an effective way to challenge the barriers of race, class and gender privilege that typically prevail in the realms of political decision-making.

Rose has contributed 25 years of mostly volunteer front line community-based social services for the poor and marginalized in this city. Her many activities have included:

*anti-racism education.

*advocate for literacy and access to education as a tool for empowering the poor and marginalized. Giving recognition to the thoughts that education is a part of the solution to helping with eradication of poverty.

*instrumental in starting up local community economic development projects the Bent Nail recycling wood project, which allowed the poor and the street community entrance into work force.

* advocated for the creation of the Needle Exchange, ensuring the safety of drug users in the city.

* spearheading the effort to promote the right of the homeless to vote in elections, 1990

*author and distribution of the Red Zone and Street Newz, street community publications

*represented the Victoria community at the Global Anti-racism conference in Durban South Africa

*Organized the B.C Womyn's Walkout for recognition of the value of unpaid women's work and the impacts of poverty on women.

*Organized the public burning of ballots during the Liberal government’s racist referendum on aboriginal rights.

*Consistent advocate on behalf of the poor: mobilizing campaigns against the anti-panhandling by-law, for the right to access public benches, against transit fare increases, and for affordable housing.

Highlight of Most Recent Struggles:

-persisting in a 3.5 years court battle with the federal government over the voter ID requirements (Bill C-31 of the Electoral Act).

-In last year’s infamous Supreme Court case, Victoria vs. Adams, Rose was a key witness and supporter of the right of homeless people to erect shelter.

-Rose continues in this struggle for the right of unhoused people to live in Victoria’s parks and boulevards, specifically by supporting the campaign to challenge the City of Victoria’s new Traffics Bylaw.

As most of you would know, local social activist Rose Henry has entered her third campaign to break the cultural barrier at City Hall in becoming the first aboriginal person on council.

Over the past three years I have had the privilage of of working with Dr. Budd Hall Professor Director of the Office of Community-Based Research from UVic (OBCR), Bernadette (Bernie) Pauly RN, Ph.D
Associate Professor, School of Nursing Scientist, Centre For Addictions Research of B.C. (CARBC) & (Homeless, Housing and Health Research team and Street Stories) and Jutta Gutberlet - associate professor (MOTHERS” Project-Binning).

Here is what she stands for:

Rose is an outstanding voice for the poor and the homeless in our community, having devoted an accumulated almost two decades of service at the Native Friendship Centre, Sandy Merriman House shelter for women, Victoria Street Community Association, Together Against Poverty Association and the Vancouver Human Rights Coalition. She stands up for the rights of the most marginalized and dispossessed in our city.

She is herself a survivor of a racist colonial system and the foster care system and who faces the multiple barriers of being a First Nations woman, a visible minority, who has lived in poverty her whole life and who has the great strength of being able to authentically represent the reality, issues and needs of a whole segment of the population whose voices are systematically excluded and ignored in the realms of political power, privilege and decision-making.

City Hall has long been the domain of the privilege and the comfortable, the educated and the middle class.

It is no coincidence that the issues affecting the poor are year after year given short shrift. Class interests on city council have almost unanimously been with those who stand for big development and private profits before people's real needs, affordable housing, public transit and poverty alleviation.

Rose is no newcomer to social justice struggles. She operates on substance and not slick. She is one person who will put the urgency of Victoria's pressing social issues at the top (rather than the bottom) of the agenda at City Hall. She is a compassionate and hard-working advocate who will serve beyond the call of duty to press for solutions to the growing problems that our community faces: addiction, homelessness, intolerance, housing affordability, public safety.

Rose has stood with all of us in the social justice community for a long time. It's time that we stood with her now.

Rose can be reached at

Rose Henry Campaign Team
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