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LETTER: End the double standards

Reader says it’s upsetting the way journalists stigmatize homeless people
Surrey homicide victim Carlos Palafox. (IHIT photo)

The Editor,

Re: “Second-degree murder charge laid in Carlos Palafox homicide in Surrey,” the Now-Leader, Dec 16.

Your article refers to the area where the homicide took place as “The Sanctuary,” as have other news outlets.

I am the founder of Sanctuary Tent City. I want to hold the media accountable for its double standards. When Sanctuary Tent City was up and running, journalists did not want to refer to our community by its name.

When the media refuses to use the names homeless people give to our tent cities, they de-legitimize our resistance. That refusal helps break up tent cities.

Now that there is news of a murder, all of a sudden our tent city is being associated with a violence that has nothing to do with us. For one thing, that kind of violence never would have happened in our tent city, and for another, it happened in a privately owned lot – not the public property our tent city was located on.

Finally, Sanctuary Tent City was displaced by the city in winter 2019. The murder happened in June 2020.

At its peak, there were nearly 50 people living at our camp. Former residents are coming to me and asking me why the media is dragging our name through the mud.

It’s upsetting a lot of us. We’re tired of the way journalists stigmatize homeless people.

Wanda Stopa, Red Braid Alliance