Two Great Videos & A Thought Concerning the Village

Morgan Freeman on Black History Month.

Something I found on Reddit. I’m a big fan of peer-to-peer financing of creative projects, and I found this video to be particularly inspiring and powerful. It looks like the working title is ‘Second Class Citizens’, and it’s a story that must be told. It’s okay to be gay in Montréal, but we need to stop lauding ourselves for our local ‘culture of openness’ when vicious homophobic discrimination elsewhere (particularly South of 49 and in far too many nations around the World) is so lethal. Sometimes I feel we’re congratulating ourselves for doing little to nothing of any real consequence. The City benefits on the whole what with our status as an internationally recognized ‘gay-tourism’ destination, yet the City seems to take a somewhat hands-off approach when it comes to tackling straightforward, general community issues in the Village, such as intravenous drug use, prostitution, homelessness, addiction etc. That gentrification is largely responsible for squeezing certain illicit activities into a small urban area between Berri-UQAM and the Jacques-Cartier Bridge is only part of the problem; it is general knowledge these activities have been ‘pushed’ into this region by law-enforcement. Whoever thinks we’ve lost our Red Light District need only walk a few blocks further East.

Montréal is a gay city, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But we can’t simply use ‘gay’ as a marketing tool, and the residents of the Village, Latin Quarter and Centre-Sud districts are lacking in social services, shelters, and solutions to unrelated social pathologies which have been focused there after years of various ‘urban renewal’ projects. Residents of the Village, and in particular the head of the local business association, have been pleading for additional assistance for years, though their calls have largely been ignored. Our society deserves better and thus we must demand more of our elected officials. If we can make things right here, perhaps others will follow our method.

We must do more than hope.