Due to the COVID19 health crisis, the 44th annual Powell Street Festival pivoted from it's traditional in-person celebration to an online Telethon. It was a great success raising $64,389 (a ~322% increase over the initial goal of $20,000). The donations will fund our new PowellStFest Community Kitchen and help to scale the suite of social justice programming under our Community Cares Program for our Downtown Eastside neighbours.
As a part of the Telethon engagement, we had a number of initiatives including:
Hosting a Gift Giving Ceremony where we delivered 1750 of care packages to residents in the Downtown Eastside;
Community sourcing a cultural dance mash-up; the Paneru MashUp which yielded 30 video submissions and 14 participants who joined us to socially distance dance;
Featuring community messaging from 24 supporters;
34 Performers/Entertainers throughout the Telethon equating to 88 minutes of programming.
We are so grateful for our 649 viewers who joined us from across Canada, US, Japan, and beyond. Collectively, the Telethon was streamed for 73.7K minutes.
“We are overjoyed with the outpouring of support we received during the Telethon. We look forward to redoubling our efforts to foster and strengthen the resilience, vitality and health of the neighborhood,” says Edward Takayanagi, President of Powell Street Festival Society (PSFS).
Reflecting upon the Telethon format, Takayanagi says, “It was important that we broadcast from the neighborhood as the Telethon was a celebration of Japanese Canadian cultural identity and our engagement and connection to this historic place.”
“As the health of the Downtown Eastside (DTES) is directly linked to the health of the Festival, we are deeply committed to the wellbeing of the neighborhood and its current residents.” He continues, “During the Telethon weekend we were able to connect with our friends from the neighborhood, community partners and residents, and affirm our reciprocal relationship.”
Employment for DTES residents and the distribution of 1500 care packages were integrated into the Telethon production. Much of these efforts were funded by a Vancouver Foundation’s Covid Response Fund.
PSFS plans to launch the PowellStFest Community Kitchen, in partnership with the DTES Community Kitchen Network, in the fall. The project will enable PSFS to explore ways to leverage its cultural and equipment assets to advance equity and build capacity in the neighbourhood. For more information about the PowellStFest Community Kitchen please visit powellstreetfestival.com/dtes-community-care-program/
Powell Street Festival Telethon raised $64,389 for the PowellStFest Community Kitchen Program!!
Click below to watch the Telethon:
In case you missed it or want to watch it again, this is the Powell Street Festival Telethon! Uploaded in five 1 hour segments, you can watch with family and friends to experience the spirit of the festival right from your home! This event was live-streamed on the Powell Street Festival website (powellstreetfestival.com) on August 1st, 2020 from 2pm – 7pm in celebration of Japanese Canadian culture with a focus on giving back to our community! The Telethon featured live performances, highlights from previous festivals, appearances from festival vendors, and so much more!
The Giving Ceremony in the Downtown Eastside
Photo: Zixyue Liu
To symbolize our reciprocal relationship, we staged a physical-distance-respecting ceremony during the week of July 27th to honour our ancestors and offer furoshiki-wrapped gifts to our Downtown Eastside friends and community partners. This choreographed event was filmed and shared during the live Telethon.
Behind the scenes, we delivered 1500 care packages to unhoused and precariously housed people living in the Powell Street neighbourhood during the week of July 27th. This was a big undertaking which we couldn’t have done without the logistical support from our DTES partner organizations and financial support from Vancouver Foundation.
We thank our DTES Community Partners, including Aboriginal Front Door, Carnegie Community Centre, Carnegie Community Action Project, DTES Neighbourhood House, Health Through Spirit, Muslim Care Centre, Overdose Prevention Sites, Pace, Wish, Right to Remain, SRO Collaborative, VANDU, Watari, WePress Community Art Space, Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society, Vancouver Buddhist Temple, Vancouver Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall, Vancouver Womens Health Centre.
Public Talk: Ed Nakawatase with Images by Tamio Wakayama
On Saturday, July 18th we held a Zoom talk in tribute to photographer Tamio Wakayama!
In the 1960’s Ed Nakawatase and Tamio Wakayama volunteered with the SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee) during the American civil rights movement in the deep south. Bearing witness to the social justice movement that unfolded before their eyes; the events shaped the identities of both these men and impacted their activist work in the future.
In honor of photographer Tamio Wakayama, special guest Ed Nakawatase will spoke about his memories and experiences with Wakayama and making connections to this present moment in relationship to building alliances and the ongoing social justice work with Black, Indigenous and POC communities.
Mizuko by Hiro Kanagawa
A couple at a lakeside cottage is haunted by a mysterious presence trapped between two worlds. A Japanese-infused horror story by Governor General Award winner Hiro Kanagawa featuring Mayumi Yoshida, June Fukumura, and David Patrick Fleming.
The Quarantine Chronicles is a new weekly summer series on CBC Podcasts. The series features seven newly commissioned short plays (30 - 40 minutes) that are transformed into audio fiction on PlayME, the award-winning podcast series that turns Canadian plays into audio fiction. Each play will capture the spirit of these distanced, disorienting and deranged times. Participating playwrights from the across the country include: Jordan Tannahill,Hiro Kanagawa,Erin Shields, Kat Sandler, Leah-Simone Bowen, Rosamund Small, Nicolas Billon, and Mark Crawford
Below: Mayumi Yoshida (left), June Fukumura (right).
"I remembered my mother’s stories on a glorious day in May 2018 during the unveiling of the East Lillooet Internment Memorial Sign and Garden, as sacred First Nations drumming called the spirits of our Japanese Canadian ancestors to come “home.” Set on the east side of the Fraser River, this swath overlooks the former Internment camp, now a private farm. Against a palette of blue sky, with mountains hugging the east and west side of the mighty Fraser, I could feel the spirits of my grandparents join us. I felt the deep embrace of the spirit of “home.”
Born in Vancouver in the 1930s, my mother lived with her family at the back of my grandparents’ dry-cleaning shop on Main Street. My grandparents emigrated to Canada in the 1920s with dreams of riches and adventure. In 1942 with the escalation of the Second World War, they were, along with all Canadians of Japanese descent, forcibly uprooted to deserted farm fields and ghost towns, stripped of their houses, businesses, boats, and properties—stripped of their civil rights."
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