“Revitalizing Japantown?” and the Right to Remain Community Fair Project Update: November 2013 to December 2014
By Jeff Masuda and Aaron Franks
First of all, thanks to the success of our project thus far in mobilizing partnerships to move our research into direct community action, we have extended the final phase of the project, the Right to Remain Community Fair to April 2015! We invite you to participate in this with us, and in future research initiatives that advance a Human Rights agenda for the Downtown Eastside.
We also invite you to review our Project Update, a summary of our activities, presentations and new relationships formed over the past year. Looking over the list, we are first struck by how time flies – and how rapidly change is happening in the community. Our immersion in the evolving neighbourhood dynamic of gentrification, displacement, protest, and community activism explains, in part, the evolution of the Project’s public identity from “Revitalizing Japantown?,” the project title of our grant, to the Right to Remain (R2R). While the former signifies the questionable appropriation of history for seemingly and sometimes authentically well-intentioned initiatives aimed at neighbourhood improvement, the latter is a theme that reflects the weaving together of parallel threads of histories, struggles, and aspirations that has been the national legacy of this community – a history that explains much, but is often forgotten in conversations about “fixing” the neighbourhood.
Building on strong network of relationships, resources, and ideas that our partners have provided, the Right to Remain Community Fair arts workshops, held over the last several months, have been a great success!
Please save the date for the RRCF Grand Finale Workshop: Walk, Eat, Talk, Make – Wishes for the Downtown Eastside, t on January 10th. Beginning at 10 a.m. DTES residents, members of Vancouver’s Japanese Canadian community, and interested allies will meet at the Vancouver Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall, making our way to the Carnegie Centre for lunch and workshops and bearing witness to local landmarks of human rights juxtaposition along the way.
We owe a debt of gratitude to the many ways that community leaders such as yourself have helped us to make headway in our project. You will likely have already encountered the amazing work of the RRCF arts team of Ali Lohan, Quin Martins, Andy Mori, Herb Varley Karen Ward, and most recently Kathy Shimizu, as well as members of the core “RJ” team including Trevor Wideman and Greg Masuda.
Please accept our thanks and our commitment to continue building this unique community research partnership. We’d also like to keep you informed about upcoming events, so expect to hear more frequently from us, post-Community Fair!
Participating in the Right to Remain arts workshop at the SRO convention