Poverty: ‘unacceptable’

'Unacceptable' campaign sends wrong message to those impoverished, says Radical Health Alliance.

The Radical Health Alliance believes “Unacceptable” messages are those that people pass by without consideration every day (see above) as opposed to the Coalition To End Homelessness’ campaign, which the group suggests further stigmatizes homeless people.

You’ve seen the uncomfortable images around town on buses, shelters and malls since Feb. 13: “Unacceptable. How did you sleep last night?” But while the message sends a retort deep into your guilty conscience, one group says the campaign has missed the mark entirely.

The Radical Health Alliance has launched its “Jam Unacceptable” initiative in response to The Coalition To End Homelessness’ “Unacceptable” poster and social media campaign. While it may be well-intentioned, the alliance says the coalition missed an opportunity to de-stigmatize those living in poverty.

Instead, the original campaign adds to the stigmatization through stereotypical imagery of the group they intend to assist.

“The coalition’s campaign reinforces mainstream understandings of how to conduct one’s self politically,” says Seb Bonet, alliance member. “We’re not looking to have a fight with the coalition — our goal is to take widely accepted images and twist them in a way that complicates the message and looks at it another way … that’s ‘culture jamming.’”

Just to show the contrast, the alliance took Victoria-specific images of privilege — like the opulent Uplands neighbourhood sign — and added the tag line: “Unacceptable. Housing for all, not mansions for some.”

The alliance, which formed through the Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group (VIPIRG), is a collective of front-line service workers, researchers, activists, students and other community members. The group has a continued mission to illuminate the root thinking that perpetuates poverty.

The coalition was unable to comment by press time.

“We must stop fixing our gaze on those who are homeless when talking about fixing these issues,” Bonet says. “Let’s turn our gaze on the privilege of Victoria and see the ongoing criminalization of those in poverty.”

To see more, visit radicalhealthalliance.wordpress.com/projects/unacceptable. M

— With files from Colin Cayer

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pandemic reunites 2000s era Victoria rock band The Origin

Saanich musicians recording for first time since 2008

From Nanoose Bay to the bookshelf, Howard the Gnome now a children’s book

Vancouver Island author explores Howard’s move down-Island

Nanaimo country singer releases new music video

‘Adrenaline’ is the second single from Joel Lee’s upcoming debut EP

Authors nominated for Victoria Book Prize awards

Finalists for 2020 announced in two categories

Three Nanaimo-area writers up for CBC non-fiction prize

Sheila Brooke, Vicki McLeod and Rachael Preston make 35-person longlist

Resident Alien returns to Ladysmith for filming in early October

New SyFy series back after spring filming interrupted by COVID-19

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Island author launches literary podcast with Canada Council for the Arts grant

Shelley Leedhal will air 10 episodes of “Something Like Love” over 10 weeks

Nanaimo’s Cinefest film festival to be held online this year due to COVID-19

CineCentral Filmmakers Society’s annual festival to feature films made in 48 hours

Indigenous artists showcase extreme sport-themed art at Nanaimo Art Gallery

Touring exhibition ‘Boarder X’ features work inspired by skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing

Most Read