Megaphone Magazine is a nonprofit organization that employs homeless and low-income vendors to sell copies of Megaphone on the streets of Vancouver and Victoria. This year’s edition of Voices of the Street was co-presented by Rain City Chronicles and featured local writers from the Downtown Eastside. Every contributor to the issue has experienced poverty.
To kick off the event, Megaphone Executive director Sean Condon and Editor Stefania Seccia each gave a short address. Vendor and reader Suzanne Kilroy delivered a traditional Coast Salish welcome song.
“Plant a seed and watch it grow. Keep planting. Keep harvesting. Always nurture Mother Earth.”
The Bear Whisperer, “Not Yet Broken”
Local poets performed readings of their published works. Each reader brought a unique perspective and literary style to a large group in the Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre. They shared their stories with emotion and humour, moving and inspiring the crowd of over 100 people who came to hear them.
During intermission, guests were treated to the musical stylings of local pianist Paula Armstrong. Operations Manager Jessica Hannon announced that they had reached their $10,000 crowdfunding goal to hire a reporter to investigate solutions to Vancouver’s homelessness crisis. After meeting their initial goal in just 36 hours, Megaphone has since upped the ante, aiming to raise $16,000 by the end of June 1st.
“Madness runs deep down here / Fear dances down here / Sadness screams down here / Death laughs down here / The DTES doesn’t hide its pain”
Joe Henry Doyle, “The DTES Doesn’t Hide Its Pain”
People were encouraged to participate in a social media campaign by sharing their favourite lines with #VOTS2016. Here are some of the highlights of the event shared by participants online.
— samaah (@samaahjaffer) May 13, 2016
A photo posted by @auronch on
— Joanna Ludlow (@jojoludlow) May 13, 2016
— Tony Massil (@tonymassil) May 13, 2016
— Megaphone Magazine (@MegaphoneMag) May 13, 2016
A photo posted by SFU Woodward’s (@sfuwoodwards) on
— Clare Yow (@clarewxy) May 13, 2016
— Megaphone Magazine (@MegaphoneMag) May 17, 2016