Re: Toronto homeless memorial, march on Tory headquarters: reports? FWD

Bonnie Briggs (s248_1132@hotmail.com)
Sat, 08 May 1999 12:06:33 PDT


>
>Can Ontario Coalition Against Poverty activists email <HPN@ASPIN.ASU.EDU>
>with eye-witness accounts and analysis on the Toronto actions reported
>below?
>
>Did the Toronto Star portray the actions, issues and stakes accurately?
>
>Thanks. -- Tom in Boston
>
>http://www.thestar.com/thestar/editorial/toronto/990507NEW04_CI-HOME7.html
>FWD  Toronto Star - May 7, 1999
>
>      HOMELESS REMEMBER THOSE WHO DIED ON STREET
>
>      400 gather at memorial to grieve for friends

Bonnie here...
  The number was actually closer to 500.
>
>      By Catherine Dunphy - Toronto Star Staff Reporter
>
>[Photo by Boris Spremo, CM] Sister Susan Moran writes the name of a dead
>homeless friend on a cardboard coffin at Nathan Phillips Square symbolizing
>those who have died on city streets. About half the 400 people at the
>memorial yesterday then marched to the Tories' campaign headquarters.

>
>  The homeless don't forget. They can't.
>
>  ``I don't know why I'm not dead yet, too,'' says a woman, 28, whose 
>street
>name is Apple.
>
>  Between her emotions and the beer she has consumed, it's a struggle for
>her to print the name of a dead friend on the white cotton sheet covering a
>cardboard coffin. Her friend died last week.
>
>  This is the seventh time in eight years the homeless have held a public
>memorial ceremony for their friends who've died on the street. Yesterday,
>about 400 people came to Nathan Phillips Square at noon to remember and
>grieve.
>
>  About half of them later marched with the symbolic casket to the campaign
>headquarters of the provincial Progressive Conservative party.
>
>  Among the names on the sheet were those of Drina Joubert and Edmond Yu.
>Her freezing death in 1985 and his shooting death by police in 1997 each
>launched ground-breaking inquiries.
To date, a lot of the recommendations from Drina's inquest have not been 
implemented.
>
>  Apple's friend jumped to her death in front of a subway last Thursday.
>
>  ``She was this good kid, in her 20s, who used to call me Dad,'' said
>Apple's friend Martin Lang, a volunteer at the drop-in centre at 519 Church
>St. for 19 years.
>
>  Lester Pawis, 60, also died last Thursday. A familiar figure for years at
>Bathurst and Queen Sts., his death shook the street people.
  He was a friend of mine, a fixture at the Meeting Place drop-in.

>
>  ``He was an icon, a beautiful man,'' said Cathy Crowe, a community nurse
>who was with him when he died in a hospital intensive-care ward.
>
>  There's already an impromptu shrine to Pawis at his favourite corner.
  Queen and Bathurst in front of the St. Christopher House Meeting Place 
Drop-In. He was a member there.
>There will be a service at Council Fire on Dundas St. E. for the woman who
>jumped in front of the subway.
>
>  ``It's too painful. I've been going to memorials and funerals once a 
>month
>for four years now,'' said Michael Crawford, a former homeless person who
>now works out of the Queen St. W. Community Health Centre.
>
>  He told the crowd to tell Premier Mike Harris they're sick of so many
>homeless people dying.
>
>  ``Wally, Al, Kat, Lee-Anne, Patrick, Lester - their deaths were all 
>caused
>by one thing: government policy,'' he said.
>
>  Former psychiatric patient A. J. Rhomer said police told her and her
>panning partner to stop sleeping in the doorway of an unused building on
>Bloor St. near Bathurst because it upset the neighbours.
>
>  ``The police told us to go to a park, where people can't see us,'' she
>said. ``I say we have got to start sleeping in visible areas so people can
>see us and know we are homeless.''
>
>  Rhomer, who's been on the street since she was evicted from her apartment
>in March, said she used to walk Yonge St. from Davenport Rd. to Finch Ave.
>and back when she was homeless in the winter of 1994-'95. ``That's what
>kept me alive. Only when you lie down does hypothermia come.''
  A.J. is another friend of mine. She does a lot of work with OCAP. Yeah, 
I'd say it was pretty accurate. Very sketchy, though. I will do a report in 
a future post.
Bonnie
>
>END FORWARD
>
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