DIRECTIONS: Copy “2020 Vancouver Police Department Budget - Call For Action - DEFUND NOW” and paste in the “SUBJECT” line. Copy the email script and paste it in the body of the email, please fill in your name and postal code at the bottom.
In the “TO” line enter the Mayor and ALL Councillors listed. You can also add emails for anyone else you think may be helpful. It is important that all of the city council receives this email.
Customize the script according to your personal experience! Who are you? How long have you lived in “Vancouver”? Did you vote for the Mayor/City Councillors? Leverage their civic responsibility to you as a voter. Did you attend any actions recently? Speak about the vocal support you heard for defunding VPD!
If you receive a response from a city councillor or the mayor, please follow up with them. Encourage them to hold their colleagues accountable and pressure them to act on behalf of their community.
Please feel free to send screenshots of any follow up emails from city council to firstname.lastname@example.org - so we can keep track of who is engaging with the community (and who is ignoring us). We must encourage our city council to publicly acknowledge our demands, our elected officials cannot ignore us.
THANK YOU to everyone who is participating and making their voices heard.
To the City of Vancouver elected officials:
I am writing to you today to express my absolute outrage regarding the Vancouver Police Department 2020 Budget of $315,278,281.00 or 21% of the total operational budget for the City of Vancouver. This astronomical police budget is unacceptable and requires serious action. The 1% budget cut voted on by Council on May 14th, 2020 is simply not enough. I call upon our elected officials to start divesting from the inherently violent institution that is the Vancouver Police Department immediately.
I am asking that you, as an elected official, pledge to do the following:
1. To never again vote to increase the Vancouver Police Department budget.
2. To propose and implement a Vancouver Police Department budget cut of, at the absolute minimum, $152 million in accordance with the City of Vancouver’s operating budget shortfall projections due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
3. To prioritize the expansion of community-led health and safety initiatives over future financial investment into the Vancouver Police Department.
4. To take direction from communities with lived experience of harm caused by policing.
In the face of cyclical police violence happening throughout North America right now, there is no better time to commit ourselves to change. What we need in Vancouver is leadership that can initiate reform that aims towards the eventual abolition of police and prisons - and, in turn, the immense police violence that targets our most oppressed and repressed people.
Increased police presence does not keep us safe, rather it directly threatens the lives of our community members made most vulnerable (Black, Indigenous, people of colour, transgender, Two-Spirit, queer, unhoused people in the DTES, street-based sex workers, people with disabilities, people experiencing poverty, etc). It is impossible to effectively reform the police to protect the marginalized communities they were designed to target, therefore, we must choose to transition towards abolition.
Instead of investing in the police, our city must prioritize alternatives like child care support, education, comprehensive mental health intervention and social support, peer-based programming, housing initiatives, income security, harm reduction services, accessible rehabilitation, conflict resolution services, transformative justice, access to recreational facilities and other vital community-based support systems. These initiatives must support our most oppressed and repressed communities, take leadership from, financially compensate and center the experiences of Black and Indigenous peoples in Vancouver.
I urge you all to reach out to redistribute our tax dollars and effect actual change in keeping communities safe by consulting directly with, funding, and otherwise supporting organizations like:
I'm asking that our city is among the first to eradicate the notion that police are necessary for safety and order, and that harmful policing is the only solution to the many issues we face as a community, when in fact the opposite is true. We must create a better future for all, and there is a surplus of evidence and experience to tell us that policing is not the answer and only causes further harm. Defunding the VPD will save lives and increase the overall health of many intersecting communities in Vancouver.
As a resident here, this is a top priority for me and I'm asking you to listen to this concern seriously and to do everything in your power to address it. Significant change is possible and significant change is necessary.
I will be following up on this issue in the leadup to the December vote, and in the consultation process before then. Please let me know what you are doing and what you will do to address this issue, shared by many residents of Vancouver.
LIST OF CONTACTS:
Mayor Kennedy Stewart - Kennedy.Stewart@vancouver.ca 604-305-2957
Councillor Rebecca Bligh - CLRbligh@vancouver.ca 604-873-7249
Councillor Christine Boyle - CLRboyle@vancouver.ca 604-873-7242
Councillor Adriane Carr - CLRcarr@vancouver.ca 604-873-7245
Councillor Melissa De Genova - CLRdegenova@vancouver.ca 604-873-7244
Councillor Lisa Dominato - CLRdominato@vancouver.ca 604-873-7248, 604-754-7290 (cell)
Councillor Pete Fry - CLRfry@vancouver.ca 604-873-7246
Councillor Colleen Hardwick - CLRhardwick@vancouver.ca 604-873-7240
Councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung - CLRkirbyemail@example.com 604-873-7247
Councillor Jean Swanson - CLRswanson@vancouver.ca 604-873-7243
Councillor Michael Wiebe - CLRwiebe@vancouver.ca 604-873-7241