Pivot Legal Society
|Pivot Legal Society|
|Purpose/focus||advocate and public voice, educator and network|
|Headquarters||Vancouver, British Columbia's Downtown Eastside.|
|Region served||Vancouver, British Columbia's Downtown Eastside Canada|
Pivot Legal Society is a legal advocacy organization based in Vancouver, British Columbia's Downtown Eastside. Founded in 2000, Pivot's stated aim is to represent and defend the marginalized and disenfranchised.
Pivot's 2002 report To Serve and Protect which compiled 50 affidavits from local residents of the Downtown Eastside resulted in an official apology from the Vancouver Police Department in 2007. Their 2006 report on the housing crisis in Vancouver - Cracks in the Foundation - resulted in the current focus on homelessness and evictions from low-income buildings in the city and many in-depth reports by local media on the topic.
Priorities and campaigns
- Housing: Improving the quality and access of housing for disenfranchised persons in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. Pivot published Cracks in the Foundation: Solving the Low-Income Housing Crisis in Canada’s Poorest Neighbourhood, a 2006 report, co-authored by Pivot lawyer David Eby and Christopher Misura, outlining the housing shortage in the city.
- Sex work: Advocating for increased protection for sex workers, through the publication of a 2004 report, Voices for Dignity: A Call to End the Harms Caused by Canada’s Sex Trade Laws, edited by Pivot lawyer, Katrina Pacey. Pivot was involved in coordinating the direct participation of sex workers in a parliamentary review of the prostitution laws in 2005. The review brought together representatives from all levels of government to advocate decriminalization of the sex trade, which was followed by the release of Beyond Decriminalization: Sex Work, Human Rights and a New Framework for Law Reform, in June 2006, by Pivot.
- Policing: access to quality policing for marginalized groups as well as police accountability for any forms of misconduct through lawsuits, complaints. In 2002, Pivot published To Serve and Protect: A Report on Policing in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, which documented various affidavits from residents regarding police behaviour. The report also contained recommendations about improving policing in the neighbourhood.
- Child welfare: Children from low-income families in the Downtown Eastside have a greater chance of being admitted to the child protection system than those from other regions of British Columbia. Pivot advocates for reform to the child protection system and has plans to organize and conduct child welfare legal information sessions through community agencies. In February 2008 Pivot released a new report "Broken Promises - Parents speak about B.C.s child welfare system."
- Health: Promoting prevention, treatment, support and harm reduction programs as the most effective solutions to drug addiction problems.
Hope in Shadows
Hope in Shadows is a photography contest organized by Pivot Legal Society, for residents of the Downtown Eastside since 2003. Every summer, up to 200 residents are given single-use cameras and encouraged to capture their community and their lives through images. The contest is designed to raise awareness about life in the Downtown Eastside, presenting reality from a distinctly personal point of view. Forty photographs are chosen by a panel of Vancouver artists and photographers, which are put on display on the street outside the Carnegie Community Centre. Here, local residents can vote to select the winning entries, which are compiled in an annual calendar, sold by residents on the streets of Vancouver. In 2010 216 local residents received job training to sell the 2011 Hope in Shadows calendar. More than $130,000 was earned by licenced street vendors selling 2011 calendars. The calendar sales were a 10% increase over the previous year. The Hope in Shadows book which won the 2008 City of Vancouver Book Award in October 2008 and has now sold more than 5,000 copies on the streets (if they had been sold in bookstores it would be an official B.C. Best Seller). Many of the calendar and book sellers are photographers in the competition. The 2011 contest will be held June 1 - 4. The top 40 pictures will be exhibited in the Pendulum Gallery in October, and the 2012 calendar will become available on October 4, 2011. Past Hope in Shadows photographs can be viewed on Flickr via the Hope in Shadows website.