A public park in the epicentre of BC’s illicit drug overdose crisis will be transformed into a dramatic memorial for the victims of the crisis.
The Collective Resistance to Injustice (CRI), a group of frontline workers and advocates in the crisis, plans to hammer in 2,224 wooden crosses into the open grass area of Oppenheimer Park in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside district.
The demonstration is scheduled to occur on Friday, September 29 between 11 am and 3 pm.
“This action serves to pressure the government to shift their approach to drug policy, listen to community members, include them in conversations about drug policy, to address this as a national emergency, and increase accessibility to the kind of care community members have asked for across Canada,” reads the event’s description.
Organizers say their protest is expected to cost $4,000, and they plan on making “further disruption and action” on the day of the event. Many of the crosses will be painted with the names of victims of the overdose crisis.
The protest marks the 20th anniversary of a similar demonstration in September 1997 when 1,000 crosses were installed in Oppenheimer Park.
Over 1,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2016, and with the rate of deaths this year to date the total by the end of 2017 will likely be significantly higher than last year’s. The number of overdose deaths in Vancouver as of August exceeded the total number of deaths in 2016.
Premier John Horgan says the overdose crisis is one of his top priorities.
When: 11 am to 3 pm on Friday, September 29, 2017
Where: Oppenheimer Park – 400 Powell Street, Vancouver