On Starting and Parting

May 19, 2016
I have said it before and I will say it again: one of the most satisfying things that I did as a social activist was to be involved in the creation of West Central Streets.

This is why:

West Central Streets
September/October, 1998
On Starting and Parting
by Tanya Lester

As one of the founding members of STREETS, Tanya Lester expresses how she sees the paper, from her new home on Salt Spring Island, BC.

Three years ago, this past July, I received a phone call from Erika Wiebe — would I be interested in attending a meeting to discuss the possibility of starting a community newspaper in the West Central area? Something similar to the Inner City Voice which had recently ceased publication, but on a smaller scale.

Erika’s call was in sync with my wish for something that would bring people in the community closer together.

At one of STREETS’ first meetings, my intuition told me there were some people ready to spend a long time finding representatives from every part of the community (and even outside of it) to sit on the newspaper committee before going ahead with it. I feared, if we went that route, things would get so bogged down that the newspaper might never get off the ground.

I spoke in favour of starting the newspaper as soon as possible and other would come around by opening the paper’s pages to a wide range of community members.

We named the paper West Central STREETS because each issue features a different street in the community. This gives a focus instead of trying to accomplish the impossible task of covering the whole area in this densely populated part of the city. It is hoped that each street focus highlights a cross-section of concerns and interests reflecting the entire community.

We also decided to raise money for the paper one issue at a time (to live in the ‘now’ moment). If there was no money, there would be no paper. It was that simple. Like a miracle,there has always been just enough money for each issue.

People tell their own stories whenever possible. Payment to those writing the articles ant distributing the papers shows value for this work. It’s also a small contribution towards helping those of us living on a low income.

So those are some of the highlights concerning how we did it and how it is still done. We believed we could do it, and we went ahead and did it. As long as community people (and I don’t mean a select group but a wide range of people) believe in bringing each other closer together through West Central STREETS, it will continue to be a strong voice and good exchange of ideas about peoples’ lives in the community.

One of the ‘rules’ that the Publishing Committee has for STREETS, is that each issue has to have some new writers — people who have never contributed to the paper before.

We are always looking to bring new people into the STREETS circle, along with their stories, ideas, opinions and gifts…


To read more posts in this blog, please go to tealeaf56.wordpress.com and writingsmall.wordpress.com

Tanya’s books are Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader (can be purchased from the author or go to the title and author name on amazon.com), Women Rights/Writes, Friends I Never Knew and Dreams and Tricksters. All are available in various library systems and the last three are in the Legislative Library of Manitoba.

Tanya is an intuitive reader and counselor specializing in tea leaf reading, tarot, psychic channel, mediumship and gypsy card reading as well as a house sitter. To get a reading or to arrange for her to do a house sit for you, please contact her at tealeaf.56@gmail.com, 250-538-0086 cell, teareading.wordpress.com or through her pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google.

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