Gent Family, Day 2
By Derek Gent
Mood shifted to a much more positive one at tonight’s event, maybe feeling a bit self righteous, maybe listening to the wonderful David Beers from the Tyee as emcee for the Real Estate Foundation Land Awards Gala, or Peter Mansbridge as keynote. I was struck by the number of folks I saw at the dinner last night being celebrated for achievements I see as celebration worthy.
Sean Dory from Sole Foods was all suited up, as was Ilana Labow from Fresh Roots, the hard working volunteers from Cowichan Green and Kettle Friendship society being feted for getting organized to grow food AND build social housing on a vacant lot. Sitting next to my Board chair, Am Johal from SFU, who has done his share of hunger strikes and activism. Breaking bread between the millionaire developers, community organizers, thoughtful academics and barrier busting bureaucrats. Food is powerful and so important.
Even our own Vancity team, with Liz Lougheed Green and Kira Gerwing in their evening gowns and almost brought to tears from grateful thanks of the people we support in community. There is definitely some value to these galas, when they’re done right. It’s a different vibe when the primary objective is really celebration and promotion of collaboration rather than fundraising (they get their money, reasonably in my mind, by taking a skim off all the real estate transactions that happen in our region – many of which do not necessarily create any value otherwise). Didn’t feel weird for me or anyone else at my table when I passed on the meal. Actually genuine affirming smiles. In other crowds I’ve been met with guilty discomfort or dazed confusion about why anyone would do this.
Fresh bread when I got home last night, took off my tux, carbed up and had a good sleep. Will wake up looking forward to sharing fry bread and an egg with Gus in the morning. Will have an apple and head out for a walk in the park before the rains start this weekend. Life is a sweet fruit. There is still some joy and justice in an often otherwise messed up world.