Sunrise: March 25, 1977 - Sunset: September 3, 2022
Angel- Rae Gates –
Gqu tska a jaad
Sunrise March 25 1977
Sunset Sept 3 2022
Her Colonial name is Angel Rae Gates her Ancestral name is Gqu tska a jaad, meaning “ head strong women”. given to her by her Auntie Bernie Williams. Angel was born in Port Albernie B.C., she lived in the D.T.E.S till Sept 3rd when she walked on to her next journey. Angels favorite quote was “I will always love the downtown Eastside,if that makes me ghetto, so be it.”
Angel by no means had it easy from the start and she endured things no human being should ever have to endure but she was a fighter and regardless she never let those things define her and who she was or what she could accomplish or her beliefs . Angel had a beautiful resilience about her she was definitely resilient. She believed wholeheartedly that everybody's life down here at ground zero mattered. It didn’t matter to her your situation or if u drank or used drugs , or your past or how you handle your feelings she was determined to show you anyway she could that you and your life mattered she fought every day to get the outside world to view the people of the downtown Eastside with a sense of humanity.
Angel was an actress she was in many films many documentaries. I believe those films really did save her life she loved being apart of the production she loved to breathe life into her characters. she was darn good at it too. Angel loved to sing mostly at the West Hotel during karaoke nights she loved fashion and had her own unique style. She absolutely loved being with her friends and her family and of course her dogs cupcake and tuffy. She loved her brother’s her Aunts and Uncle's her countless niece’s and nephew's and all her cousins. Most of all her Children.
I will always smile when I think of the many rides we would take with me on the back of her pink scooter yes usually to the casino. I will miss going to the west with her or taking 7 hours on Halloween night to get ready all dressed up in costumes to go to the West. I will miss her Facebook posts and videos I will miss how excited she would get when I let her finally do my makeup I will miss her laugh and her advice.
I am grateful and always will be grateful for the time we had together I am grateful for knowing her and I believe I am a better person because I knew her. Life was a little easier when she was here.
Angel was a force to be reckoned with yet if u got past and she let u see past the hard shell you could clearly see she wore her heart on her sleeve. They say those with the hardest lives have the biggest hearts that’s so true.
Angel and I have known each other for along long time we both grew up down here our moms were both murdered at the Balmoral we both experienced intergenerational trauma as young people so those things really bonded us we believed our mothers from heaven brought us together as they were friends while on earth too . Its weird how things are sometimes.
We both worked ( I still do) at Megaphone magazine creating change publicly speaking in forums about stigma or drugs the opioid crisis or about the murdered and missing women and girls, residential schools. She taught me to believe in my self to honour my story and to tell my story as it could heal nations. I believe that to this day Angel challenged me to do better to be better just by being in my life. In all our lives . Angel would not want us to mourn her death but to celebrate her life to sing for the moment she would want us to remember her in a good way . I could never wish her back again selfishly maybe She has been reunited with her grandma her mom and all those who went before her I bet she’s having the time of her life up there.
This isn’t goodbye Angel it’s I will see you later until then from time to time send me a sign you're there.
Love you always
Written by: Julie Chapman
A close, dear friend has passed away
She was beautiful, strong and had lots to say
We worked together through Megaphone
In the same building we both had our home
Supporting each other and sharing our stories
Survivors of trauma and creator of glories
We both have experienced how the world's changed
When out in the community things don't look the same
Angel worked hard in fighting for our 'hood
She helped make changes from bad to good
Angel is now with her family and friends
The people who've passed, reuniting again
The lived experiences Angel has shared
Has helped others come forward not to be scared
When someone was struggling or needed support
Angel would never sell herself short
A warrior and survivor a mentor and friend
My prayers and condolences to her family I send
I'll never forget that our birthdays were the same
Every birthday that passes I'll honor your name
' Rest in peace and I miss you a lot
Angel Gates you won't be forgot'
You can read more about Angel's impact in the DTES community in Jen St. Dennis' article that was published by the Tyee.
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