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Gwen Giesbrecht

 

Gwen Giesbrecht

Gwen GGwen Giesbrecht is a parent, owns a small business and is an active advocate for public education and strong communities. She is a longterm resident of Grandview-Woodland.

Gwen’s involvment with Public Education includes working with other stakeholders in the Vancouver School District as member and past chairperson of the Vancouver District Parent Advisory Council ( DPAC ), the COPE education committee, and the Justice not Charity working group.

Currently Gwen is President of the Britannia Community Services Centre board of management and Chair of the Britannia Secondary Parent Advisory committee. Britannia has an integrated model for community service delivery and works closely in partnership with the VSB, the VPL, the COV, and many local organizations. She is a leader in the Public Education Project, and stands up for families and community.

In her role as a parent representative to the VSB, Gwen has consistently worked to ensure that the voices of families, especially those that have barriers to advocating on their own behalf, are heard.

Ms. Giesbrecht truly believes that the best opportunities for lifelong learning and support for all students should be available, accessible and equitable. She believes that there is not a more important achievement for a society to aspire to than working to provide the means for every individual to the reach the fullest potential of their abilities.

Gwen Giesbrecht

Gwen Giesbrecht.

Gwen Giesbrecht

Gwen Giesbrecht.

GRAN MALÓN: In solidarity with Carmen Aguirre

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Carmen, author of the national bestseller Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter, which won Canada Reads in 2012, was owed $60,000 in royalties when D&M Publishers went bankrupt later that year. She has never received any of that money. Carmen makes her living as a writer and an independent theatre artist, and whatever we raise through this campaign will go directly to her.Malón is a Chilean term of Mapuche origin. Initially, its meaning had to do with Mapuche raids/assaults on the Spaniards, but in the last sixty years it has evolved to mean a big party where everybody “takes over/assaults” somebody’s house (with their previous consent) and contributes with food, music and whatever else is needed to have a good time. In this case, we’re requesting financial contributions and, if you are in the region, your attendance at our Gran Malón. There will be food, readings and performances—and we’ll have a good time! Autographed copies of the Douglas & McIntyre edition of Something Fierce will also be for sale at the event. Again, all proceeds will go directly to Carmen.
 
We have creative ticket pricing for this event: $20 to $500. You can choose to attend in person or virtually. With your virtual attendance, we’ll thank you by name during the evening’s program. 
 
Date: Monday, June 9 Time: 7:30 to 10:00 p.m. Location: Heritage Hall Address: 3102 Main Street, Vancouver (at 15th Ave.)
 
Note: We expect this event to sell out, so please order your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.
 
For more information, visit http://granmalon.blogspot.ca/
 
Finally, please forward this info by e-mail, Facebook, Twitter–whatever you’ve got!–to anyone you think might be interested.
 
Thanks for your support, and look forward to seeing you there.
 

For those who think young

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Before its too late. Harper ’s got to go!

I’m concerned that many young folks in my own family, particularly my great-nieces and nephews, don’t understand what a serious threat Stephen Harper and his Conservative government in Ottawa pose to our way of life in Canada.

Since Harper became Prime Minister, his government has screwed up things up in every important area of our lives, from health, education, workplace security and the environment to the cost of housing.

These days, how many of you can afford to go to college or university, learn a trade, or develop a technical or creative skill without applying for a giant bank loan that will take years to pay off? And given what is happening in the work force today, do you think you’ll have enough money to support your own kids over the course of their education? For the first time in Canadian history, you will likely have a lower income than your parents did.

How many of you today have health plans through your workplace that pay health premiums, with or without extended health? Who pays for your dental work? Can you afford to go to the dentist on a regular basis?  How many of you—or your parents or grandparents—need  prescriptions you can’t afford to fill?

Right now, the government in Ottawa is looking for ways to make the oil companies richer while they gut the Canada Health Act. Our tax dollars used to support one of the best health care systems in the world. No more! The Conservatives today are cutting  $36 billion dollars from Canadian Medicare. Every person who buys anything from books to shoes to a muffin and coffee has to pay the GST.  But how come banks get bailed out, corporations squirm out of paying taxes, and those who have money make more money as a result?

The next federal election will be held sometime in 2015. We’ve got one year to make some choices about who is going to manage our country. Think about it carefully. What kind of future do you want for yourself and for your kids and grand kids?

I’ll be blogging about these issues in more detail over the next few months.  Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drawings from the Children of Gaza

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VANCOUVER - A Child’s View from Gaza comprises startling and courageous works on paper using crayon, paints and markers by children who survived the 22-day Operation Cast Lead military attack on Gaza in 2008-9. The travelling exhibit opens Friday, March 9 at 7:30pm at the Unitarian Church at 949 W. 49thAve.

In the words of curator Susan Johnson, the exhibit provides a chance “to learn what a child in Gaza has experienced – what they feel and why. It’s an opportunity for the viewer to learn, to put prejudice aside. When,  asks Johnson, “have you ever heard the voice of Gaza’s children?”

The Vancouver tour launch will feature two important speakers whose work with war-scarred children in the Middle East is world-renowned. Barbara Lubin, Executive Director of the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) has just returned from Gaza and will speak on the current conditions there.  MECA is a non‐governmental organization working for peace and justice for Palestine, Israel, Lebanon and Iraq, focusing on the rights of children. The reception will also feature a video interview with Dr. Eyad el-Sarraj, President of the Gaza Community Health Program.  Dr. el-Sarraj works with children suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He has also appeared before international panels investigating the impact of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead.   His interview with journalist Pam Bailey will provide an up‐to-the-minute account of the situation facing the children of Gaza. Vancouver showings at the Interurban Gallery, Simon Fraser University, UBC, Langara and People’s Coop Books will provide an opportunity to see some of these poignant drawings.  A larger exhibit of this work became the subject of controversy when its presentation was cancelled by the Oakland Museum of Children’s art last fall. While the show did open at another venue nearby, the controversy created broader international interest the art – work that was called “dangerous” by opponents of the show. See the exhibit in Vancouver and in your city if it travels there: childsviewfromgaza.org Support projects aimed at helping the children of Gaza:  Gaza Community Mental Health Program gcmhp.net Support an organization doing work in support of children throughout the Middle East:  Middle East Childrens’ Alliance mecaforpeace.org  

Canada Reads: Vote for “Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter”

Friends;

Please join me in supporting the book “Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter” by Carmen Aguirre in this year’s CBC Canada Reads competition. This year, for the first time, the competition will focus on non-fiction.  It would be extraordinary to have Carmen’s book make the shortlist.

Below I have pasted in the paragraph I submitted as my reason for nominating the book.  I have also included a paragraph describing the Canada Reads competition, a short biography of Carmen Aguirre, and links to some interviews and reviews of the book.

Please nominate “Something Fierce” today, and urge all your friends to do so, too. You can keep it short—anything from up to 250 words counts as your vote. The deadline for nominations is midnight on October 14.

Nominate here:  http://www.cbc.ca/books/canadareads/2012/recommend  right now!

CBC Canada Reads opts for non-fiction lineup

This morning, CBC Books announced that the 2012 edition of its annual book battle, Canada Reads, will focus on non-fiction. Canada Reads: True Stories follows the same format of last year’s 10th anniversary contest by culling its list of contenders from public recommendations and a popular vote. Recommendations are being accepted online over the next three weeks via CBC Books. The longlist will be released Oct. 18, at which point public polls whittle the list down to 10. From there the celebrity panel — to be revealed in November — takes over, selecting five titles to champion over the airwaves in February. It seems, though, not just any non-fiction fare will cut the mustard. The contest is open to works of memoir, biography, and literary non-fiction only. From CBC Books: We want stories. Books that are page-turners with captivating narratives, memorable characters and vivid prose. Books so riveting you forget they are non-fiction. Books that introduce readers to a brand new world and bring them wholly into it. While we love the work that Canadian essayists, academics, chefs, decorators and self-help gurus do, those books aren’t quite right. We want the final five to have stories that captivate the country.

Carmen Aguirre

Carmen Aguirre is a Vancouver-based writer and theatre artist who has worked extensively in North and South America. She has written and co-written fourteen plays. In the spring of 2012, her one-woman show Blue Box, commissioned by Nightswimming Theatre, will premiere in Toronto and Vancouver. As an actor, Aguirre has dozens of film and TV credits, including a lead role in the independent feature Quinceañera, winner of the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, an Independent Spirit award, GLAAD awards and various People’s Choice awards at festivals around the world. As a stage actor, Aguirre has worked with a host of acclaimed Vancouver theatre companies. 

Aguirre was the founder and director of The Latino Theatre Group, was playwright-in-residence at The Vancouver Playhouse from 2000 to 2002, was playwright-in-residence at Touchstone Theatre in 2004, and facilitates Theatre of the Oppressed workshops around the province. Set in Vancouver, her comedic drama The Refugee Hotel (Talonbooks) reflects the predicaments and concerns of refugee communities worldwide while focusing upon Chileans who fled their homes in the wake of Augusto Pinochet’s coup in 1974.

My nomination of Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter

I found this book gripping–exciting and inspiring at the same time. As the  story of one family’s lives after the violent 1973 coup in Chile, it evokes a depth of political passion that is rare in recent years. Carmen Aguirre arrived in Vancouver with her parents at the age of six as a political refugee. Five years later, she returned to Latin America with her mother, sister and stepfather. While their parents set up a series of safe houses for resistance members, the girls’ dangerous double lives began. In her first book, award-winning playwright Aguirre has crafted her amazing story with drama, humour and a skill for fast-faced narrative. Hers is also a uniquely Canadian story–many Chileans fled to Canada after the coup, and Aguirre explores with insight and affection the difficulties of life in exile. On the back cover of the book, novelist Camilla Gibb calls this “a moving, heart-racing journey,” It is that and much more.

http://www.straight.com/article-392032/vancouver/carmen-aguirre-plumbs-tumultuous-past-something-fierce

http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/episode/2011/05/11/something-fierce-carmen-aguirre/

http://thecommentary.ca/ontheline/635-carmen-aguirre/

 

 

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