kirsten clarke – The Langara Voice https://www.langaravoice.ca News, entertainment and sports from Langara College journalism students Wed, 04 Sep 2019 20:04:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.1 https://www.langaravoice.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/LOGO-100x100.png kirsten clarke – The Langara Voice https://www.langaravoice.ca 32 32 Two new charges on Langara’s arson suspect https://www.langaravoice.ca/two-new-charges-on-langaras-arson-suspect/ Fri, 05 Apr 2019 18:56:44 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=42123 The suspect arrested for the Langara arson attacks is now facing two new additional charges after a court appearance Friday.]]>

Reported by Kirsten Clarke and Taesa Hodel

The suspect arrested for the Langara arson attacks is now facing two new additional charges after a court appearance Friday.

Nasradin Abdusamad Ali, 23, was originally accused of one count of arson of and one count of possession of incendiary material.

He was also charged Friday with a new assault charge and a robbery charge. Both of the incidents from the new charges arise from alleged incidents that occurred last month.

On April 1, students and staff at Langara were ordered evacuated from campus buildings after timed incendiary devices set off fires in the second and fifth floors in the T Building.

The new assault charge occurred on March 7 on the Langara campus and was not reported to the police until after the arson took place.

The alleged robbery on March 26 occurred near campus. Police said the suspect robbed another Langara student at a bus stop on East 53 Avenue and Fleming Street.

“The robbery was reported to the VPD on the day of the incident and detectives have since been able to collect enough evidence for Crown to lay a robbery charge against Ali,” said Const. Jason Doucette with the Vancouver police.

In a statement, the VPD said the new charges against Ali stem from alleged incidents in the weeks leading up to the fires on April 1. Ali was charged on April 2 with one count of arson in relation to inhabited property, and one count of possession of incendiary material after he allegedly entered the Langara College with improvised incendiary devices.

At least two devices were detonated, causing fires before the suspect fled the area. He was arrested later that day in Surrey.

One of the devices ignited near a teacher’s office in T Building.

T Building was filled with students writing final exams and caused a mass evacuation of the

college by heavily armed police units.

Both Ali’s parents and brother appeared in the public gallery.

The bail hearing will continue April 10.

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Opinion: World leaders, take note of Jacinda Ardern https://www.langaravoice.ca/opinion-world-leaders-take-note-of-jacinda-ardern/ Thu, 21 Mar 2019 00:00:30 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=41567 Jacinda Ardern is sincere. Her response as prime minister of New Zealand to the two terror attacks in Christchurch left no doubt that she mourns with her country.]]>

By Kirsten Clarke

Jacinda Ardern is sincere. Her response as prime minister of New Zealand to the two terror attacks in Christchurch left no doubt that she mourns with her country.

When a tragedy occurs, politicians feel the need to respond – fast. But this tactic often results in their words feeling empty, their statements rote and generic. You expect them to hit the same talking points: community, resilience, compassion. Thoughts and prayers.

But thoughts and prayers are on the same level as asking for Facebook likes. It’s become a joke.

Taking action

In her statements delivered in the minutes and hours after the attacks, Ardern denounced the attacks as “terrorism.” She vowed to overhaul the country’s gun control laws. She stressed that the victims were New Zealanders.

She was speaking, not just as a leader addressing her nation, but as someone who was actively grieved and appalled by what had taken place in Christchurch.

On Saturday, the day after the attacks, Ardern wore hijab and mourned with the Christchurch victims and the city’s Muslim and refugee community. She was one of them, not just a figurehead.

Her reaction has been lauded around the world. Iranian-American journalist Negar Mortazavi tweeted that Ardern was telling victims “You are us.”

This was not a response to devastation that felt formulaic. Other global leaders would do well to follow Ardern’s example.

A detached address

In January 2017, a shooter killed six people and injured 19 more shortly after evening prayer at a Quebec City mosque. Trudeau condemned the attack as a terrorist act against all of Canada.

But his tone felt detached, his words carefully crafted. There was usual talk of how Canada is a diverse society, how the nation would stand together, would unify, and that an entire nation of hearts was breaking. While the intention might have been genuine, his delivery missed the mark.

Unlike Ardern, who addressed her nation directly, Trudeau’s response to the Quebec mosque attack was read before the House of Commons, his peers, not the victims and all Canadians.

Ardern’s genuine response and concrete actions – her cabinet will announce reforms to the country’s gun laws within 10 days of the attacks – are what’s needed from world leaders. Not just thoughts and prayers.

Read Liam Hill-Allan’s related article about a vigil held in Vancouver for the victims of Friday’s terrorist attack.

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Voice Radio Ep. 6 – Vancouver vigil for New Zealand attack https://www.langaravoice.ca/voice-radio-ep-6-vancouver-vigil-for-new-zealand-attack/ Wed, 20 Mar 2019 21:00:44 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=41554 In the sixth episode of Voice Radio, managing web editor Taesa Hodel and social media editor Kelsea Franzke preview stories that will appear in the March 21 issue of The Voice.]]>

Produced by Taesa Hodel and Kelsea Franzke

In the sixth episode of Voice Radio, managing web editor Taesa Hodel and social media editor Kelsea Franzke preview stories that will appear in the March 21 issue of The Voice.

This podcast features Christina Dommer’s story about an anti-blackness workshop, and Liam Hill-Allan‘s story about a vigil held in Vancouver mourning the victims of the recent New Zealand terrorist attack.

Editor Kirsten Clarke also joins our hosts in the studio to talk about how politicians and political leaders should address their nation after acts of terrorism.

 

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Health report says that Vancouverites don’t feel connected to their communities https://www.langaravoice.ca/health-report-says-that-vancouverites-dont-feel-connected-to-their-communities/ Wed, 13 Mar 2019 22:46:02 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=41386 Almost half of Vancouver’s residents don’t feel very connected to their city, don’t have a strong group of friends they can rely on, and report more mood and anxiety disorders than Metro Vancouver on average.]]>

Reported by Kirsten Clarke

Almost half of Vancouver’s residents don’t feel very connected to their city, don’t have a strong group of friends they can rely on and report more mood and anxiety disorders than Metro Vancouver on average.

That’s what researchers found when they went out to assess the health of the Lower Mainland and province’s population, asking residents how they would describe their sense of belonging, and how many people they have in their network to rely on.

Health officials say those results are key to understanding the relationship between social connection and health.

“Those in our community that are socially isolated have a 50-per-cent increased risk of all-cause mortality,” said regional epidemiologist Ellen Demlow. That’s a more negative effect than obesity or smoking 20 cigarettes per day.

People who are highly socially connected have a 50-per-cent increased chance of longevity, said Demlow, who presented the survey at Friday’s Metro Vancouver regional planning committee meeting, with the aim of helping directors understand the importance of social connection and social cohesion in local community planning.

The survey found that Bowen Island, the North Shore and Delta ranked the highest in terms of social connection, while people’s sense of community belonging in the majority of Vancouver, Burnaby and Richmond fell below average.

Only 54 per cent of Vancouver residents feel a connection to their community, landing below the regional average of 56 per cent.

People with high social connections, said Demlow, have stronger immunity, lower rates of anxiety and depression, and greater self-esteem.

The survey also found that projects that directly affect the landscape of a community can be extremely beneficial to someone’s sense of belonging, Demlow said. If there were parks and walking trails in their community, people reported a higher level of social connection. But if people saw others using those public spaces, that connection grew stronger.

The authority’s survey received 33,000 responses when it was sent out in 2013 and 2014. About 15,000 of those were within the boundaries of Vancouver Coastal Health.

“If you’re struggling and you’re feeling disconnected, that’s a huge deal just to feel part of a neighbourhood and a community regardless of how long you’ve been there.”

Neal Lamontagne, Vancouver city planner

One local organization has seen the difference that community belonging makes.

“What I have seen, again and again, is someone who’s feeling lonely, comes here, makes connections, makes friends and they seem pretty happy. It does seem to make a huge difference in their lives,” said Jennifer Gray-Grant, executive director at Collingwood Neighbourhood House.

Collingwood has established a reputation as the neighbourhood house that works to give residents the ability to improve their neighbourhood culturally, socially and physically, said Gray-Grant. Groups have planted gardens together, hosted block parties and come together to make button blankets. Inter-generational groups, with members aged eight to 80, have learned and practised knitting together.

“It’s through those small discussions and projects that people begin to make a friend and get a sense of belonging in their neighbourhood,” said Gray-Grant.

The importance of community belonging, with data to back it up, is becoming an increasingly important factor in city planning, said Neal Lamontagne, a Vancouver city planner.

It’s only in the past five or 10 years, said Lamontagne, that mental health has played a part in the community-planning process.

Lamontagne wants to make communities that encourage interaction. Even casual social links, like waving to your neighbour, or recognizing someone at your local grocery store, are important.

“If you’re struggling and you’re feeling disconnected, that’s a huge deal just to feel part of a neighbourhood and a community regardless of how long you’ve been there,” he said.

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Voice Radio Ep. 5 – Podcasts, men’s basketball team heading to nationals and U-Pass fraud https://www.langaravoice.ca/voice-radio-ep-5-podcasts-mens-basketball-team-heading-to-nationals-and-u-pass-fraud/ Wed, 13 Mar 2019 22:31:50 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=41383 Produced by Nathan Durec In the fifth episode of Voice Radio, web editor Patrick Penner and social media editor Kirsten Clarke preview stories that will appear in the March 14 issue of The Voice. This podcast features Maxim Fossey‘s story podcast culture and Liam Hill-Allan‘s preview of the Langara Falcons men’s basketball team as the head into […]]]>

Produced by Nathan Durec

In the fifth episode of Voice Radio, web editor Patrick Penner and social media editor Kirsten Clarke preview stories that will appear in the March 14 issue of The Voice.

This podcast features Maxim Fossey‘s story podcast culture and Liam Hill-Allan‘s preview of the Langara Falcons men’s basketball team as the head into the national championships. The story by Liam can be read here.

Reporter Kristian Trevena also joins our hosts in the studio to talk about people who are using Langara’s Facebook page for buying and selling textbooks to sell their U-Passes. The full story can be found here.

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Voice Radio Ep. 2 – Wilson-Raybould resigns, cigarette butts and Valentine’s Day https://www.langaravoice.ca/voice-radio-ep-2-wilson-raybould-resigns-cigarette-butts-and-valentines-day/ Wed, 13 Feb 2019 20:59:27 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=40690 In the second episode of Voice Radio, managing web editor Kirsten Clarke and social media editor Darren Amner preview stories that will appear in the Feb. 14 issue of The Voice.]]>

In the second episode of Voice Radio, managing web editor Kirsten Clarke and social media editor Darren Amner preview stories that will appear in the Feb. 14 issue of The Voice.

The podcast digs into this week’s top stories: the surprise resignation of Jody Wilson-Raybould and the effect of discarded cigarette butts around campus on local wildlife.

Then, reporter Missy Johnson joins our hosts in studio to talk about Valentine’s Day around the world. Her full story appears in this week’s edition of The Voice.

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Vancouver police seeking Indigenous cadets https://www.langaravoice.ca/vancouver-police-seeking-indigenous-cadets/ Thu, 07 Feb 2019 01:57:43 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=40591 Vancouver’s Indigenous cadet program convinced Christian Olver to become a police officer. ]]>

Reported by Kirsten Clarke

Vancouver’s Indigenous cadet program convinced Christian Olver to become a police officer.

Olver, a Métis, was one of the first cadets to participate in the program in 2007 after he had previously applied for a job with the department.

The Indigenous cadet program, a paid program that runs for three months in the summer targeted at 19- to 29-year-olds, is one of the many ways that Vancouver police are working to recruit more Indigenous officers.

Olver spent the first half of his summer shifts – four days on, four days off – with patrol officers and on the water with the marine unit, or with the mounted or dog squads. The second half of his shifts were spent in the department’s kiosk maintaining police vehicles, ensuring that each car was cleaned and filled with fuel.

The hands-on experience showed Olver what policing was all about and helped him build a relationship with the department.

“It’s about fostering partnerships and building community trust between police agencies and the Indigenous community,” Olver said, now a detective who oversees the Indigenous cadet program.

The program now includes a week-long spiritual and cultural canoe trip with First Nations and police officers, which takes place at the end of cadet training.  

Working to increase diversity

Indigenous officers make up 1.83 per cent of Vancouver’s police force, out of the department’s total 25 per cent diversity, according to a presentation at a recent police board meeting. In Metro Vancouver, Indigenous people are 2.8 per cent of the total population.

But some say that the recruitment successes so far are not enough.

“We’ve definitely got to improve that, and from my perspective we’ve got to start younger,” said Tami Omeasoo, director of employment services at Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society and president of Vancouver Aboriginal Friendship Centre Society.

Omeasoo’s organization has been working on that.

In October 2018, the department worked with Omeasoo’s employment centre, which sponsors the cadet program, to create a 10-week initiative that connects young people 14 to 19 with police officers.

Like the cadet program, the Indigenous teens meet with officers while also engaging in cultural activities like weaving.

“Our kids today, they hear so many negative things about Vancouver police officers, but when they take part in certain programs like this they see things differently. They see it with a different set of eyes,” said Rebecca Hackett, employment advisor for ACCESS.

They start to see the officers as humans, said Omeasoo, once they get to joke and goof around with them. She also encourages the teens to join the cadet’s canoe trip.

Going forward

Olver wants to see the Indigenous cadet program expand nationally and spread the word to the Indigenous population across the country that the department is looking to hire more Indigenous people.

Cadet numbers have grown over the past decade to four or five cadets each summer. The department promotes the Indigenous cadet program throughout the province, engaging with Indigenous communities to promote recruitment.

Last year, Vancouver police participated in an open house career fair in Haida Gwaii. The department has also been present at the All-Native Basketball Tournament in Prince Rupert.

In the Lower Mainland, they have attended the Gathering Our Voices conference for Indigenous youth, and career fairs at Musqueam and Mt. Currie.

Because of the program, six Indigenous cadets have been hired to policing roles in Vancouver, West Vancouver and the RCMP since 2007.

Indigenous officers make up 5.1 per cent of all 8,966 police officers in British Columbia, according to a 2017 Statistics Canada report. In Ontario, Indigenous officers represent 4.4 per cent of the total 25,981 officers, and in Manitoba, 16.4 per cent of the total 2,572 officers are Indigenous.

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Canada reflects on the sacrifices made by Indigenous veterans https://www.langaravoice.ca/canada-reflects-on-the-sacrifices-made-by-indigenous-veterans/ Thu, 15 Nov 2018 17:00:49 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=34472 Reported by Kirsten Clarke When the call to war sounded in Canada, Indigenous men and women responded. “We heard there was a need,” said Robert Nahanee, a member of the Squamish nation who served in the Canadian forces for a decade. Two of Nahanee’s uncles served overseas during the Second World War. Jimmy worked as […]]]>

Reported by Kirsten Clarke

When the call to war sounded in Canada, Indigenous men and women responded.

“We heard there was a need,” said Robert Nahanee, a member of the Squamish nation who served in the Canadian forces for a decade.

Two of Nahanee’s uncles served overseas during the Second World War. Jimmy worked as a mine detector while Eddy, a member of the 101st Airborne in the U.S. Army, was killed in action.

“There’s only one thing that we say,” Nahanee said. “We don’t glorify war.” The role of the warrior is a peacekeeper, he said. The Indigenous people who served Canada did so to keep peace in the world and their communities.

Veterans salute after laying a wreath at the cenotaph at Victory Square. On the left is Joy Ward-Dockrey, navy veteran and spokesperson for Aboriginal Veterans in the Lower Mainland. Photo by Kirsten Clarke

In order to enlist, the federal government required Indigenous people give up their status. This act of disenfranchisement meant that they became legal non-entities, as Indigenous people did not have the right to Canadian citizenship.

A day to reflect

Since its inauguration in Winnipeg in 1994, Nov. 8 has marked National Aboriginal Veterans Day in communities across Canada.

This year’s events in Vancouver began with a ceremony including prayers, drumming and loading a sacred pipe in honour of veterans.

Nov. 8 was also marked with a parade of veterans and supporters, led by a drum circle in the bed of a pickup truck that wound its way from Carnegie Community Centre to Victory Square.

After a wreath-laying ceremony at the cenotaph, the drum circle closed events with a song.

Memorializing loved ones
Viviene Rose Sandy holds a portrait of her late great uncle, George Gilbert who suffered from PTSD as a result of his service during the Second World War. Photo by Kirsten Clarke

Viviene Rose Sandy smiled as she joined in with her own drum, holding a portrait of her late great uncle George Gilbert. Hailing from William’s Lake, Gilbert served during the Second World War.

Sandy remembers the effects that the war had on Gilbert. As a child, she often witnessed his PTSD.

Several speakers addressed the crowd at Victory Square, including navy veteran Joy Ward-Dockrey. Each stressed the importance of honouring the men and women who served and are serving, and the need to support those who are struggling when they return from active duty.

While both world wars had severe effects on all survivors, returning Indigenous veterans were “twice traumatized,” said Ward-Dockrey, who is also the spokesperson for Indigenous Veterans in the Lower Mainland.

Canadian veterans had access to pensions, land grants and medical benefits. Indigenous veterans were told to return to reservations where they were no longer members.

“So, what did they do?” said Ward-Dockrey, “They re-enlisted for the Korean War, because it was the only thing they knew and the only place they felt comfortable in a country that didn’t welcome them back.”

Relief on the battlefield

While Indigenous peoples faced discrimination at home and were initially discouraged from enlisting, they found relief on the battlefield, said Ward-Dockrey.

“It didn’t matter what the colour of our skin was because we were all equal while we were out there fighting for freedom and independence for our country,” he said.

Despite the traumatic legacy of the wars on Indigenous communities, those at Victory Square were proud to be able to celebrate veterans.

The message we should take from war, said Nahanee, is “to keep the peace. World peace. We’re human beings, we’ve got to live like that. We can do it.”

A Langara Elder shares her father’s experience in the war

The father of Langara’s Elder in Residence fought at Ypres and Vimy Ridge in the First World War.

Frederick Albert Sterling enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces while he worked at Douglas Lake Ranch. A skilled horseman and sharpshooter, Sterling – who has since passed away – served as a private in the 102nd and 121st battalions.

“He was glad to join,” said daughter Mary Jane Joe. “He left his horse and gear right there in the Nicola area.” Sterling completed basic training in Vernon, B.C. before he was sent to Ontario and, later, overseas.

Joe’s father didn’t often speak of the war, which he labelled “dirty” and “horrific,” but she and her siblings saw its effects – her father suffered from PTSD.

“At the Battle of Ypres, in the trenches, he remembered being the last man alive,” Joe said.

He told Joe he believed he was about to die and prayed to the Creator to return to his own land.

Sterling survived the Battle of Ypres but later in the war he was shot and spent two years recovering in Britain before returning home.

Sterling later served in the Second World War as a guard at the Japanese Canadian internment camp in Princeton, B.C.

The federal government estimates around 7,000 Indigenous people served in the First and Second World Wars. These numbers do not include the Métis and Inuit who also enlisted.

Wreaths laid at the cenotaph at Victory Square on National Aboriginal Veterans Day, which has been celebrated across Canada since 1994. Photo by Kirsten Clarke
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Vancouver bloggers advocate for forward thinking eco-fashion https://www.langaravoice.ca/vancouver-bloggers-advocate-for-forward-thinking-eco-fashion/ Wed, 07 Nov 2018 22:28:05 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=34240 Produced by Kirsten Clarke Creative Coworkers is hosting a series of events that encourages locals to think twice about their fashion practices and purchases. Sustainable Diversity Talk + Clothing Swap was a night that included discussing ecological fashion with three local fashion-focused women that have been practicing sustainable clothing manufacturing. Kirsten Clarke interviewed the speakers […]]]>

Produced by Kirsten Clarke

Creative Coworkers is hosting a series of events that encourages locals to think twice about their fashion practices and purchases.

Sustainable Diversity Talk + Clothing Swap was a night that included discussing ecological fashion with three local fashion-focused women that have been practicing sustainable clothing manufacturing.

Kirsten Clarke interviewed the speakers and guests about their efforts to reduce overconsumption in the industry.

 

 

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Socialists unite against funding cuts in 49th year https://www.langaravoice.ca/socialists-unite-against-funding-cuts-in-49th-year/ Thu, 01 Nov 2018 14:00:21 +0000 https://www.langaravoice.ca/?p=34110 Reported by Kirsten Clarke Public funding covered up to 90 per cent of the operating costs of colleges in the 1970s, but today only one-third of Langara’s costs are covered by provincial grants said the head of Langara’s international socialists club. On Oct. 24, the club held a forum to discuss the sharp decline in […]]]>

Reported by Kirsten Clarke

Public funding covered up to 90 per cent of the operating costs of colleges in the 1970s, but today only one-third of Langara’s costs are covered by provincial grants said the head of Langara’s international socialists club.

On Oct. 24, the club held a forum to discuss the sharp decline in public funding for educational institutions. The club’s research into Langara’s revenue showed that tuition fees per course have tripled in cost for domestic students, said Bradley Hughes, head of the club and department chair for physics and astronomy.

For international students, that cost is 20 times its 1970 equivalent. 

Students are footing the bill

As public funding has decreased across the province, colleges such as Langara have had to recoup revenue from other sources, Hughes said.

“It’s coming from tuition fees and overwhelmingly from international students’ tuition fees,” Hughes said. International students make up about one-third of Langara’s student population but pay three-quarters of the total tuition fees collected by the college.

The high level of private funding on campus is also a concern for club members. Private donors could begin to influence spending on campus and within departments, Hughes said.

The club is working to draw attention to these issues now that Langara is celebrating its 49th anniversary, which the club believes is being used primarily as a vehicle for fundraising from private donors.

“It’s great to celebrate how much we’ve done, but it’s also really important to call out the university when administrators are very complacent in not fighting for more public funding,” said club member Kiren Aujla.

Being a student is tough enough

Aujla believes that education should be more accessible for students, who should not be on the hook for the majority of the college’s revenue.

First year student Tony Alama believes that high domestic and international tuition costs affect students’ quality of life, leaving little money left over to pay for housing or basic necessities.

He questions how students can become healthy, productive citizens in the future if they are currently stressed and forced to severely limit what they spend on essentials.

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