Working and living here in the Downtown Eastside one thing becomes quite apparent; this is probably the most diverse and inclusive community in the entire city. The general public's perception of this neighbourhood is mostly shaped by what they see and read in the media, which unfortunately is mostly negative. Let's face it, bad news sells. If you spend any amount of time here it is more than obvious how culturally and socially diverse it is. First Nations, Asian, African, Central and South American, Quebecois and many others all share a very small area. Because of this the people here have learned to co-exist with respect for each other's different backgrounds and cultures. Everyone knows everyone. If a person hasn't been seen for a few days, people notice and make the effort to find out what, if anything has happened to them. The residents here are also quite adept at appointing unofficial community leaders to speak out for them. Anyone who wishes to be involved in the DTES must first and foremost be able to function within the parameters of this unique society. So in order to bring about any sort of lasting systemic change we must first learn to walk shoulder to shoulder with our neighbours in this unique and wonderful community.
Our process expresses our values about faith action in community. Through this process, Downtown Eastside parishes:
- welcome all cultures and respects all spiritualities
- value and incorporate, where possible, Aboriginal culture and traditions
- foster equality and is inclusive of all people
- promote open dialogue with opportunities for learning, questioning, and sharing
- foster relationships and appreciation of Parish and community strengths
- value community and the role of spirituality in community development
- value opportunities for reflection, giving us an opportunity to move from reflection to action, well grounded in our faith commitment
- foster stewardship of parish resources; and
- appreciate our relationship to the global family and is committed to development and peace.