2012 – Jim Green

This year 2012 the Thakore Family Foundation, The India Club of Vancouver and the J.S. Woodsworth Chair in the Humanities at Simon Fraser University celebrates the 22nd annual Gandhi Jayanti Celebration with an Award to the late Jim Green for a lifetime of service to society by helping residents of the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver.

On October 3rd, Vancouver city councillor Geoff Meggs, Writer and Activist Am Johal and MLA Jenny Kwan will talk about Jim’s life, his contribution to society and the parallels with Gandhi’s commitment to help those who have the greatest needs.

Gandhi was able to both motivate and empower people – the common people – to stand against terrible injustice and take actions toward achieving a society based on principles of human community.  Jim Green and Mahatma Gandhi were teachers, political activists and agents for social change.  And both had a passion for helping those who were the most marginalized.

Born in Alabama, Jim moved to Canada in the late 1960’s in opposition of the Vietnam war and the draft.  Starting out as longshoreman, Jim close ties with the unions and in the 1980’s became one of the founders of the Downtown Eastside Residents Association.  Jim worked hard to be the voice for many Downtown Eastside (DTES) residents.  His efforts resulted in more social housing, a DTES banking institution, job training programs and free tuition program for entry level university courses for DTES residents.

Jim also had a passion for the arts.  He brought Opera to the DTES and helped restore the historic York Theatre.  One of his proudest achievements was the Woodward’s block, containing social housing, market housing, university facilities and cultural spaces.

He was gruff, hard-nosed and did not shy away from sugar-coating his statements.  Combined with his tenacity, Jim was always controversial.

His actions did earn him an honorary member of the BC Architectural Institute and Planning Institute of BC, an adopted member of the Haida nation and he was a Vancouver city councillor.  Just days before his death, Jim was awarded the freedom of the city, Vancouver’s highest honour.

We invite you to attend the lecture, followed by a question period, on October 3rd, 2012, at 7:30pm in SFU’s downtown Harbour Centre campus (515 West Hastings).  The lecture is free and open to all.  Honouring Jim’s passion for the arts, the Woodward’s Community Choir under the direction of Vanessa Richards will be opening the lecture.