Vancouver authors, poets support Megaphone's writing workshop program

Flip through any issue of Megaphone and you'll read powerful stories written by people struggling with homeless, addiction and mental illness. These stories come from Megaphone's writing workshops, which are run in treatment centres, social housing buildings and community centres in the Downtown Eastside.


The program means a lot to the participants, who get an opportunity to develop their writing skills and tell their story in their own voice. This spring Megaphone needs your help to raise $10,000 to keep this important program going.


To help encourage your support, some of Vancouver's most acclaimed authors and poets have lent their voices to our campaign.


Read their testimonials below and help support Megaphone's fundraising drive. This spring we need to raise $10,000 so we can continue to ensure marginalized voices are heard in our city.


"Megaphone’s workshops provide a much-needed sense of support and encouragement, as well as professional guidance, for people in this community who are determined to tell their stories," says Evelyn Lau, Vancouver's Poet Laureate. 


"The great thing about Megaphone has always been its emphasis on empathy, solidarity and empowerment over paternalism or pitying condescension," says author and comedian says Charles Demers. The Writing Workshops are a natural culmination of that philosophy—to be armed with the skills to tell one's own story, in one's own words and style, is among the most profoundly empowering experiences life has to offer.” 


"Articulation is the catalyst of change. If an obstacle is to be overcome, one must first speak its name," says Michael Christie, winner of the 2011 City of Vancouver Book Award. This is perhaps the hardest part. Writing Workshops like these encourage people who have been ignored their whole lives--by their families, by teachers, by you, by me--to do just that: to speak, and to grow."

Megaphone's Community Writing Workshops amplify whispered voices for the whole city to hear. It would be hard to think of a more vital, more essential part of our city's cultural fabric. What kind of society shall we live in? One that drowns these voices out, or one that bends low, shuts up, and listens?"



"These days I think of a story about forest creatures who fled from a forest fire and stood outside helplessly watching the fire, except for a hummingbird who flew back and forth taking a beak-full of water from a stream and dropping it on the fire. A bear watching, looked up and asked, somewhat annoyed, 'What are you doing?' And the hummingbird replied, 'I'm doing what I can.'


"I think when we're doing 'what we can' we'll be amazed to see what happens. It's certainly true in my life. See you flying over the forest fire, Megaphoners," says Joy Kogawa, a member of the Order of Canada.


"Megaphone is more than just a magazine; it is an organization that instils a sense of pride in homeless and lower-income Vancouverites by offering them the dignity of being heard," says fromer Vancouver Poet Laureaute, Brad Cran. Simply put, Megaphone and the Megaphone Writing Workshop have the power to change lives. It starts with the written word and it ends with people empowered by self-expression and self-respect. To help Megaphone is to help our city." 



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