"We deserve a Vancouver that is safe for everyone," said COPE council candidate Ellen Woodsworth. "COPE will work with the community and all levels of government to end homophobia."

Woodsworth and COPE school board candidate Jane Bouey will march today at the Join Hands for Justice Rally, in support of Jordan Smith and other victims of gay bashing.

Smith was attacked on September 27 by four men in the West End. This hateful act was alledgedly committed because Smith was holding hands with a man. He has since undergone surgery to have his jaw wired shut. One of his attackers is now facing assault charges.

"This latest gay bashing incident is just the most recent act of violence in our community," said Bouey. "Seven years ago, Aaron Webster was murdered in Stanley Park. There have been untold numbers of reported and unreported attacks on the queer community. We must act now to stop homophobia."

Woodsworth and Bouey are long-time queer activists who have a record of standing up for queer communities. With their COPE allies, they want to:

  • strongly advocate to enforce hate crime laws;
  • expand anti-homophobia, anti-racism and human rights education in schools;
  • develop a coordinated youth engagement strategy, involving the City, Parks and Schools with other community and government organizations.

After the 2002 election, COPE majorities on Council, School and Parks Boards created Pride Day at City Hall; developed groundbreaking policy and action to combat homophobia in Vancouver Schools that engaged students as well as education and community representatives; and actively encouraged youth driven organizations, such as Out in Schools, to visit schools and work with youth.

For information call: David Fields, COPE Communications, 604-722-4775

COPE Candidates Call for Safer Communities

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