Members of ACEH are in the stages of finalizing the agenda for the Gathering on April 15. On March 16th, ACEH had a meeting at Our Place Society (OPS) with community members who are currently experiencing homelessness. Alongside organizing the cultural performers from Coast Salish, Kwakwaka’wakw, Nuu-chah-nulth, and Métis communities, we are working with community members to prepare for the Gathering in different ways. At our meeting in OPS, we wanted to gauge community members’ feelings towards attending the Gathering.
One of the most important aspects of the Gathering will be the open mic session of the evening, where community members will be encouraged to tell their stories and to share their experiences. The experiences, the difficulties, and the sensitivity of the barriers and challenges that community members have encountered make this an important event but specifically one where the emotions can be overwhelming. The stories that people share may trigger emotions, as well as revisiting the hurt and isolation that some of our community members have been experiencing, or have experienced in the past.
The community members at the meeting at OPS were in full support of the Gathering, and are working with members of ACEH in preparing for the event. ACEH is planning to reach out to more community members in a second meeting at OPS.