It is a strange profound paradox that every Sunday our second stop of feeding the marginalized in the inner city is beside the Mayor's office, and above us, the council chambers for the city of Victoria. It is the paradox of the power to make change, and the powerless. In between, the transformative space of who influences who.
One really gets a sense, that this is the transformative space Jesus lived in. The space between power, and the powerless. He tried to close the gap, pulling heaven to earth...and earth to heaven. Every Sunday for the past five years or more I have deeply felt this tension. How do we do our part in the redemptive space of pulling the power and powerless together to where there is somekind of solidarity between the two.
C.A.R.T.S. finds itself in a very interesting space. Although, our recent eviction from the parking lot at Queen's Manor has similarities to when we were evicted from the Capitol Six parking lot this is profoundly different. Here we are being evicted by Victoria Cool Aid Society . An agency that houses the poor and marginalized in Victoria. They are not alone in this process though. Across the street, are Jordans Interiors, a very high end interior furnishings store.
But in the rub of business, and poverty there is always bound to be a certain amount of friction. One hopes it just isn't enough friction to start a fire. Ironically, C.A.R.T.S was feeding marginalized folks in this area before Queens Manor, and Jordans Interiors moved in. It happened to be an area of the city we felt was in need. So it became our first stop on our route through the inner city.
So here we are again caught in this transformative space of power, of who influences who. We can only assume that the biggest broker in this power struggle is Jordans Interiors. We acknowledge the difficulty that it must be for any business in this area of the city. It is the rub of poverty and affluence, of keeping up appearances. It's affluent customers coming into a high end furniture store having to witness the face of addiction. mental illness, disability and poverty.
The accusation, or the charge against C.A.R.T.S is that we are contributing to the increased presence of undesireable people in the area. I have tried to convey that C.A.R.T.S. is there fro roughly an hour on Sunday afternoon. And, yes, we acknowledge there would be an increase of people at that time, because, well...hungry people like to be fed. And, yes, some people do linger around tanking to us, and to their friends. But, to draw the conclusion that C.A.R.T.S contributes to the increase in activity for the other 6 days, and 23 hours a week is a stretch.
Again, we realize that Jordans Interiors is a business, with employees and a bottom end of trying to make money. But, the bigger question, " is there any possible way of the 3 parties involved C.A.R.T.S., Victoria Cool Aid Society and Jordans Interiors working together towards a resolution where people could still be fed?"
This is that transformative space between those who have power and the powerless where we can try to something redemptive. I pray there is a will to do something in a cooperative spirit that works with poverty not trying to sweep it off the street, moving it somewhere else.
Back to the start, the paradox of Centennial Square, besides the Mayor's office and under the city's council chambers. Friday, we'll meet with the Mayor and others, to share our story and the recent events of Queens Manor Parking Lot. We'll seek the wisdom fo those in power, sharing C.A.R.T.S stories of navigating poverty in the inner city. We are not looking to come out as winners. We are just looking for solidarity, where we all work together for the well being and betterment of those in our society.
We are a local Victoria, BC charity dedicated to fulfilling our mission: