Trouble on the waterfront

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Thirty-four years ago, Don Larson set out to create a waterfront park for the people of the Downtown Eastside.

“Our intent was to get a waterfront park so that people living in small rooms could go down and have green grass and be able to touch and go in the water,” says Larson, founder of the Crab — Water for Life Society. His efforts resulted in the creation of Crab Park, the only public green space with access to the water in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Now at age 70, Larson is fighting a new battle—this time against Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s proposed Centerm expansion. The port authority intends to expand the pier by 15 per cent, basically adding nearly three hectares (seven acres) by extending out (to get a better sense of this number, consider that all of Crab Park is slightly under three hectares in size). According to Port Metro Vancouver, this would increase the number of containers that can be handled at the terminal by approximately two-thirds.

Keep reading here.

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Cover story: Not quite there

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I was at home, getting ready to send this piece to Megaphone’s editor, when I found out about the shootings in Orlando. As someone who lived in southern Florida most of her childhood, the shootings hit very close to home. As a gay Latin woman, the news that someone had committed the largest mass shooting in the United States’ modern history in a gay bar on Latin night was a punch to the gut. The shooting was a reminder that while mainstream culture, predominantly in the entertainment industry, has become more embracing of LGBTQ2+ people and characters, there is still a long road ahead of us if we’re ever to overcome prejudice and lack of protection.

Sometimes it seems like for every step forward there is an equal if not greater push back to the starting line. Case in point, our southern neighbour has gone from having one of the best times so far—in terms of trans visibility in mainstream media, and legalizing same-sex marriage—to enacting the most anti-LGBTQ2+ bills in a single year in history. Not to mention, states without discrimination protection laws for LGBTQ2+ people currently outnumber those with protection—meaning the survivors of the shooting at Pulse nightclub could still get fired because of their sexual preference or gender identity.

Things are only slightly better in Canada: we’ve had marriage equality for about a decade, but as a country we have yet to amend our human rights code to include gender identity and gender expression.

Keep reading here.

The unbearable whiteness of basic transportation

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Notes on racial profiling from a targeted traveller at YVR.

I probably fly to the United States at least four times a year, usually by myself. Being Mexican, I’m used to having my passport scrutinized, and I tend to expect that I’ll have to pull out my American and Canadian visas at every checkpoint. But earlier this spring, I travelled for the first time with my blonde-haired, fair-skinned, green-eyed Canadian girlfriend. And this was definitely her first time traveling with a person holding a third-world passport.

The morning of our flight from Vancouver to San Francisco—which featured a layover in L.A.—I probably seemed a little anxious, even though we were going on vacation. I had asked if we could head to the airport much earlier than what my girlfriend was accustomed to when she travels to the States.

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PuSh festival kicks off 2015

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PuSh is constantly regarded as an event that “pushes” creative boundaries. It’s been just over a decade since the annual festival of local and international performance art got its start in Vancouver, a city that—just like the festival—is still growing into itself.

“The city has a sense of ownership in this festival,” explains Norman Armour, PuSh’s artistic director. “I think we remain who we began as in terms of our values and spirit. But we’ve grown in terms of our mission.” For the last 10 years, PuSh has been an ideal place to forge artistic partnerships, showcase groundbreaking local and international acts, and challenge audiences with innovative performances and events.

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