Why I Love the Downtown Eastside (poem): By Stephen Lytton

 

First of all, let me ask you some questions.

What is it that you wish to capture?

Is it the essence or the moment?

Or the character – heart and soul of the Downtown Eastside?

Or is it about the human spirit

and its will to survive in spite of all the challenges it encounters?

What will you take from your experience?

I love the neighbourhood, my community, my home since 1992.

Dubbed the poorest postal code in all of Canada,

my community has taught me so much about heart and courage

over the years I’ve been here.

On a personal level I have learned about character.

My own weaknesses and flaws, but my own strength as well.

That beauty still unfolds

though pain and death continue in my hood.

We will surge forward.

Many times strangers, family and friends united in our plight,

sharing the humanity.

All are welcome here, regardless of where they come from.

Not one turned away.

Here you see the reality of life.

I am touched deeply by those struggling.

I am encouraged to carry on.

The Downtown Eastside is the very heartbeat of the hood

and its people.

My dream is that it remains deeply devoted to the struggle

for justice, not injustice.

But because the whispers of those who have now passed on

continue in the wind, their voices must be heard

and the struggle must continue.

Their plight and our plight is connected.

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