By the way,
WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION:
- VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
- TOTALITARIAN CAPITALISM
- IGNORANCE and SUSTAINED FEAR
By the way,
The Newsletter is one of the most read and respected publications in the Downtown Eastside. It has come out, with rare exceptions, on the 1st & 15th of each month since August 1986. Its purpose is to provide a voice for the dynamic of life and struggle and to let all manner of physical, mental and spiritual creativity have expression. It’s also a good read! Issues covered include poverty, housing, “free” trade fair trade & the sex trade, safety, drugs (both use & abuse) & alcohol, food, learning, women & the elevation of their dignity, kids’ needs and joys, sports, politics and fear, cuts and hope and more. There are also announcements of events, efforts to assist in organising and promotion of justice. Be warned: it is not just doom and gloom.
The Carnegie Newsletter is located in the Carnegie Community Centre at
401 Main Street
Vancouver, BC V6A 2T7
On the map
Carnegie Library was Vancouver's first Public Library, built in 1902-03 with a $50,000 donation from the steel magnate and union-bashing capitalist Andrew Carnegie. It continued in this function until the 1950's, when the Library relocated to its next quarters on Burrard Street. The Carnegie building was converted into a museum, with the still famous Mummie ensconced in a display case on the 3rd floor. In the late 60's the museum use finished and the collection was dispersed, leaving the building empty. It was boarded up and remained empty.
Beginning in 1974, members of the Downtown Eastside Residents' Association (DERA) began, in response to much input from local people, to work toward turning the old library into a community centre. Over the next 5-6 years, the City Fathers had narrowed possible uses/disposal of the site to one of the following: 1) a parking lot; 2) a policemen's athletic club; 3) a restaurant/nightclub; 4) a place for some rich guy to show off his rock collection (after buying it for a buck).
DERA staffers Bruce Eriksen, Jean Swanson and Libby Davies somehow arranged or got Council to agree to hold a meeting in the old building, in the middle of the dust, dirt and ratshit. They made their case to spark a vision of the potential of the old girl, and one Councillor changed his mind - and the spark became a flame.
The Carnegie Community Centre opened its doors on January 20, 1980 and, from the first day, incorporated volunteers into the day-to-day running and provision of services, programs, and food production.
The first Newsletter came out in 1982. It was a single legal-sized sheet with a short calendar of upcoming events and a story about one of the music programs. By 1983 there was enough interest developing and people eager to talk about things and issues, write poetry and do artwork for a community centre newsletter on a regular schedule. The Carnegie Crescent was born. It came out later and later as time went on, with virtually everyone being an editor and no one happy with the final product. Rumour had it that one person, who had it last and took the final draft to the print shop, would take others' submissions out just before to put personal stuff in instead. This infuriated a few and bored most readers. The Crescent finally imploded.
In 1986, staff person Cindy Carson utilised an Unemployment Insurance Top-Up program to get funds to hire Al Mettrick, who'd just arrived from Toronto after working at the Toronto Star, to start a newsletter. He walked around for a few weeks saying, "Hi, I'm Al and I'd like you to help me make a paper." The first edition of the Carnegie Newsletter came out on August 15, 1986, 12 pages in 60 copies made on an old photocopier upstairs. It came out on the 1st and 15th of each month and after 2-3 issues, people began to write poetry, submit art and stories, and it seemed to be the beginning of something good. Al's UI ran out in November, he went on with his life, and a few people realised it wasn't that difficult to make a paper - to make it our own.
Typewritten stories, poetry, (copy) was cut with scissors and pasted with glue and laid out with internal stuff to begin with. It soon expanded to include neighbourhood and global issues, and the look/feel of the paper was ironic and mostly spot on. Everything except the actual printing was (and still is) done entirely by volunteers. It gets printed at Budget Printing and was hauled the 2-3 blocks early in the morning of the 1st & 15th in bags, backpack, and sometimes just dragged. One fine day the dragger thought "I should have a little red wagon!" and then came upon an abandoned shopping cart (of which there are usually 1-6 within a few blocks of Carnegie on any given day). Like a revelation, like a Vision, it came to him in a flash!! 'Use the shopping cart." It became 'office equipment' as calmly explained to the regular visitors and dilettantes wondering why it was inside a building that was not a supermarket.
Collation, stapling, folding and distribution are done in and from the Newsletter's office in Carnegie. What leveled at 300 copies per issue, after the first year, has grown over the years to now (2016) be 1200 copies per issue, averaging 24 pages each. It's always black & white as colour printing is simply too expensive. What passes for style is amply augmented by what passes for content - and vice versa!
One for free. If you want 5 or 20 or more, come to Carnegie's 2nd floor Association office and ask for Paul Taylor. The paper operates on the lint off a shoestring of a budget, so any donation towards the print costs is welcome. This also applies to the Newsletter's little sister publication Help in the Downtown Eastside..
The front page used to have a little reminder at the top, over the masthead: FREE - Donations accepted. The 'donations accepted' had to be removed to forestall a practice that a few enterprising locals had taken up; that being to take 50 or so copies, go stand outside the entrance to some store frequented by yuppies, and 'ask for donations' in exchange for a single copy. Unfortunately all money collected in this way never came back to the Newsletter but was just pocketed by said 'entrepreneurs'. Given that all input to the paper was voluntary, this mode of 'distribution' was just sleazy.
From the Editor
Since 1986, over 1,800 people have voluntarily given their writing, poetry, graphic art and energy to the Newsletter. Most sign their work with a passport name; a much smaller number (less than 10%) append just their given name; about equal to this is the use of pseudonyms. But rarely does something come in without any hint of the author's identity.
Remuneration comes in the form of Volunteer tickets; 2 per hour for hourly work, 4-8 per piece, depending on a vaguely defined criteria, like the life experience or innate talent necessary to have produced the submitted work in the first place. (It's subjective, with the editor's experience and intuition playing a role in deciding how many (keeping in mind that Carnegie Volunteers get 2 tickets per hour, regardless of what work they are doing).
After the alphabetical listing (starting below) is another with the first names plus initial (kind of like AA) for Donors of Money. At the very end are names of the unsung heroes of the Production Crew. There are a lot more - those who gave an hour once or came 2 or 3 times - but those listed have come regularly twice a month, some for years.
Thanks to all.
PaulR Taylor, volunteer editor since 1986.
If you want a copy mailed the cost for stamps now (2015) is about $28 a year for 23 issues. More than one copy - more stamps. Call, (604) 665-2289, or write to:
401 Main Street
Vancouver, BC V6A 2T7
The Newsletter is not made from beginning to end on computer; i.e. no desktop publishing or related software. Hence, it is currently not in a format that can be faxed (no, no one is volunteering to stand at a fax machine and feed it in page by page). If you can't pick one up or submit a mailing address with enough money to cover stamps you'll have to go through life with this huge hole in your cultural, emotional and spiritual awareness. . .(!)
We now also send out an email newsletter. Sign up for it here, and receive an email when the new issue is published.
Physical Locations (map)
Newsletters are available for pick-up at Carnegie for a day or three on or after the 1st & 15th of the month. Copies are delivered to most drop-ins or agencies that have a fair client base or are used a lot by residents. Places for pick-up include:
Physical Locations (list)
Carnegie Community Centre
Pigeon Park Savings
DE Women's Centre
MEIA (Welfare) Offices at Waterfront & Dockside
First United Church
Vancouver Native Health Clinic
DE Seniors Centre
DE Neighbourhood House
Drug Users Resource Centre
Downtown Health Clinic
Evelyne Saller Centre
Simon Fraser University Downtown
Vancouver Community College
University of BC, Humanities 101
Buchanan A-Suite 201, 1866 Main Mall
Co-op Bookstore (Commercial Drive)