#Vancouver: The breathtaking beauty and the heartbreaking addicted.
I was attending #SLA2014, a great conference for curious people who want to help others achieve their goals through innovation and gathering the most current information.
I have traveled the world and never seen a more beautiful city. The conference was terrific. Included in these photos is a picture of a former police officer, Julie Clegg, who now works with Toddington International on helping clients find people who don’t want to be found on the Internet with an array of cyber tools and geo tracking.
It was by far the most talked about session of the conference.
A few blocks from the pristine conference center is East Hastings Street, one of the most infamous and largest drug hubs in North America if not the world.
Some of the people spoke with me. Others chased me away or were too sick to speak.
Why take pictures of the sick?
Because the addicted and mentally ill are invisible, and they need to be included in the everyday conversation. They are us, our families, friends, neighbors, colleagues and community.
Kris, 42, a prostitute, who says she was just visiting Hastings for the afternoon.
Shannon, 30, and Ms. Diva, who says she is old enough. Ms. Diva is in a wheelchair after being run over by a car and dragged for three blocks, crushing her leg and breaking other bones. Shannon has been dealing drugs since she was 14-years-old. She has a seven-year-old daughter, and hopes to go back to school and get a job in early childhood education. She was one of the brightest people I spoke with and could make the transition if she was willing to work hard to get off the streets. There are social services like the Vancouver Women’s Health Collective that could help her, but it would require a lot of work.