Last night, to commemorate International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, about twenty or more of us met at the Astoria Hotel on Hastings and did a pub crawl heading west. We covered all the pubs from the Astoria to the Funky Winker-Beans. We handed out candy canes and pamphlets that brought awareness to the degree of violence sex workers face on the street.
It was a moving, amazing night. There were no speeches. We didn't carry signs. We didn't contact the media - so there were no television cameras or reporters. But we got to experience Downtown Eastside culture. A community with so much rich heritage and camaraderie. It was an experience I'll never forget and will definitely repeat.
Some of the pubs were rather run down, but all were very welcoming. The owner at the Balmoral turned up the music, turned down the lights and served us tasty beverages. Believe it or not, the food at the Patricia rivals pub food everywhere. And the erotic paintings of nameless women, likely from that very neighbourhood, found in the basement after a long-ago fire now hang ceremoniously on the walls throughout Funky Winker Beans.
I couldn't think of a better way to spend such an important memorial occasion for my community.