DIRECTOR'S CORNER: Voices of the Street

Photo by Julie Rogers.

Megaphone is extremely proud to publish stories from our vendors and other people experiencing poverty. It’s crucial that these voices get heard across Vancouver. We’re incredibly excited that our fourth-annual literary anthology, Voices of the Street, is now on sale. Your Megaphone vendor is selling this special issue for $5, along with the regular edition of the magazine.

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The best way to understand something is to get to the source of it. Nowhere is that truer than when it comes to poverty. We’re used to hearing about why people are poor from those that study it or work with low-income people, but rarely from those who actually experience it.

Megaphone’s writing workshops give homeless and low-income people an opportunity to write their own stories in their own voice. And by publishing these stories in the magazine (you can see work from our Community Journalism course in the current issue) and in our annual Voices of the Street literary edition, which vendors are now selling for $5, you can read first-hand accounts about what it is to live a vulnerable life. 

Whether it’s a frustrating account about trying to navigate the bureaucracy of the welfare office, a powerfully honest portrait of what it’s like to live with a mental illness, or an inspiring tale of someone working to improve a life that’s seen its fair share of struggles, these stories offer readers important windows into the struggles, beauty and pain of those who experience poverty, addiction and mental illness.

Accompanied by some beautiful portraits from the Hope in Shadows photography project, the 68-page Voices of the Street features writers who participate in Megaphone’s community writing workshops, which we run in treatment centres, social housing buildings and community centres across the city. Many of the writers are also vendors themselves.

In Megaphone’s workshops, professional writing facilitators work with low-income writers, so they can craft their writing skills and help them create pieces and poems that tell stories you won’t read in other publications in the city. These stories allow us to get right to the source of poverty, see both how it impacts people, and consider what we can do to solve it. 

At a time when many people are questioning the purpose and practices of non-profits, Voices of the Street reminds us about the important work so many community organizations in the Downtown Eastside and across Vancouver do every day—give a voice and a platform to those who are so often denied it. 

To keep Megaphone’s writing workshops going, we need your support. Please consider making a donation here and help ensure that these voices continue to be heard.

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