Pivot Legal Society - Equality Lifts Everyone


In my month and a half of interning with Pivot, one of the prime characteristics of the Downtown Eastside that has become readily apparent to me is the strong sense of community that exists here. Hope in Shadows held an event on June 10th at the Rhizome Café for the supporters and participants of the Hope in Shadows calendar project where this attribute was amazingly echoed.

The evening welcomed participants from the photography contest, residents of the Downtown Eastside, vendors, sponsors and supporters of the project.

June 19, 2011 | By Katrina Pacey

There are times when I really wish cameras were allowed in courtrooms. The Ontario Court of Appeal hearing this week, where five justices contemplated the constitutionality of the Criminal Code provisions relating to adult prostitution, was one of those times. 

Unfortunately there were no cameras to capture the complexity, controversy and courage that filled the courtroom during this historic appeal. So, I have decided to write this blog to give you some of my favourite moments from the past five days.

June 17, 2011 | By Darcie Bennett

Two days ago, my 15 year-old son sat down at the dinner table and said: “Guess what, drug cartels in Mexico are having gladiatorial fights to the death and turning the winners into hitmen.” His sisters doubted his story, but when CNN’s blog confirm it, they posed the only reasonable question: “why?” 

June 15, 2011 | By Carolyn Wong

Last Saturday was a perfect snapshot of the dedication and energy that community members give to Hope in Shadows to make this project happen. Our judges spent the entire day pouring over thousands of contest images with the task of choosing 40 photos that best express the beauty, humanity and strength of the Downtown Eastside. These photos, now spread across a table in our office and soon to be displayed for the public vote, capture exactly those aspects of the community.

June 15, 2011 | By Carolyn Wong
Jan, Lesya and Lorraine at the first Tomoe Arts production meeting

When Lorraine came into the office to see me she started talking about some of the things she'd experienced during the three-day photography contest. I was moved by her observations and asked her if she'd write something for the Pivot blog. She submitted the following...

Dear friends,

My name is Lorraine. I would like to share a little reflection on my experience participating in the Hope in Shadows photography contest this year.

June 14, 2011 | By Peter Wrinch

We just finished a two-year project. It was one of the largest internal projects that we have ever worked on and it has fundamentally changed our organization. The funny thing about this project is that it happened in spurts, without a clear work plan or timeline. The project was guided by ideas and although there were very few hard costs, it happened with the input of 100s of people and through the work of staff and key volunteers. The final tangible product is this website; however, it is the less tangible shift in organizational culture that is the true victory.    

June 13, 2011 | By Katrina Pacey

Yesterday, when my plane touched down, I felt a flutter in my stomach. I have come to Toronto to make submissions before the Ontario Court of Appeal.  I am here on behalf of Pivot, PACE and the Downtown Eastside Sex Workers United Against Violence Society to intervene in the case of AG Canada v. Bedford, Lebovitch and Scott.

June 13, 2011 | By Carolyn Wong

Once the Hope in Shadows photo contest gets going, things move quickly. We held the annual camera hand out on June 1 and this past weekend we had a full day of judging to narrow down the 4000 photo submissions to a final top 40. A difficult job.

The judges will be measuring the photos in five contest categories – Our Downtown Eastside Community, Our City Landscape, Best Portrait, Best Black & White Photo, and Best Colour Photo.

Below are biographies of our nine judges. Awards will be announced October 4 at an event at Carnegie Community Centre.

June 10, 2011 | By Darcie Bennett

The Canadian movement for a national housing strategy has had a tough couple months.  After more than two years of work inside and outside of the legislature, Bill C-304 is dead and the new federal budget does nothing to address Canada’s housing crisis. Even worse, the surplus accumulated by the Canadian Housing and Mortgage Corporation that many housing advocates and opposition party members wanted to see invested in new affordable housing is instead being dumped into general revenue.