Residents named the new tent city "Whalley World" in honour of the low-income neighbourhood that the City of Surrey is trying to rebrand and sell off to developers. People are tired of watching luxury condo towers go up while their friends are evicted to the streets, and they are fighting back!
On Saturday June 20th, residents of Whalley are rallying on 135A Street, the former site of the tent city known as the Surrey Strip, against Mayor McCallum’s plan to push low-income residents out of the neighbourhood and hand Whalley over to the rich.
After living in their apartment for seven years, Michelle and her partner are facing an imminent eviction. Their building was sold at the end of March for $3.4 million. "They want to throw us out in the middle of a pandemic with no time to find a place," says Michelle.
On March 25th, the provincial government announced a halt on evictions for unpaid rent during the COVID-19 crisis. That means if you can’t pay your rent, stay in your home. Now is the time to say enough by organizing to collectively withhold our rent!
Red Braid member Teresa Dettling responds to criticisms that deny and erase women’s leadership in Red Braid. She says, "I refuse to stand by while my sisters are being slandered, and their work erased and ignored. To the people who want to label us a 'cult,' we are not going to be quiet and we are not going to stop fighting with our sisters, supporting our sisters, and organizing with our Indigenous and working class sisters."
Red Braid member Ma Maa Tea (Nuu Chah Nulth and Irish) responds to critiques of Red Braid’s Indigenous leadership. She argues, "Saying low-income Indigenous people have no voice not only erases low-income Indigenous leaders but says that low-income Indigenous people cannot be protagonists in urban centers for themselves and when standing with land defenders."
In response to the Stewart Squat, Red Braid received questions and critiques from Indigenous youth and others who support the struggles of low-income Indigenous and working-class people against the forces of colonialism and capitalism. We’ve been going through posts and comments, grouping them under some themes, and have responded here.
On April 17, homeless and underhoused residents of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside took over a vacant school building, launching the latest #SQUAT2SURVIVE action: the Kennedy Stewart Squat!
Homeless and low-income women have established a wing in the Hothouse Squat as a space for women’s community, solidarity, and collective struggle against patriarchal power and violence, which has increased during the COVID-19 crisis.
To survive COVID-19, we have to protect Indigenous spaces. We have to protect our physical spaces where we can see and care for each other. We have to defend all our relations against being controlled by building managers, surveilled by police, and killed by colonizer violence.