New Year, New Name

By | January 1, 2020

As part of CAN’s ongoing decolonialization work, we have decided to rename our organization.

When we started in 2005, we wanted the CAN acronym because we believed that “we CAN make change”. I founded this organization after unsuccessfully trying to work through the system via local government and I thought of the word citizens because I felt like it was up to us citizens to take on the responsibility and find solutions when government couldn’t or wouldn’t. As CAN grew, we realized that the word citizen was limiting as the accessibility we create and seek to create is for all people, regardless of citizenship. We helped/help people who are visiting, tourists, here unlawfully, and we help Indigenous people who do not identify as citizens of Canada. Last year we made the commitment to change our name. I, along with our board, and with input from members, thought long and hard about what we wanted our new name to reflect and how it would shape our 15th year. We did the paperwork, the government approved the change, and we can finally announce that we are now Creating Accessible Neighbourhoods.

We are keeping the acronym, CAN, that was so important to the originating board and members. We feel the new name is more action-oriented which fits well with our plans for 2020.

This year is going to be an exciting year for Creating Accessible Neighbourhoods:
• We continue to work with Vancouver Pride Society on making Pride events more accessible.
• We will soon have a brand-new website with increased accessibility (stay tuned).
• We have three workshops we will be doing throughout Metro Vancouver: Intro to Disability Justice, Queer 101, and Imposter Syndrome.
• CAN is working with Growing Room: A Feminist Literary Festival to assess the accessibility of their locations and events and to create an accessibility protocol so that all participants, speakers, organizers, and volunteers know that accessibility is a core value.
• We continue to facilitate Chronically Queer meetings in Vancouver and Burnaby and, this month, we are adding an online version for those who are unable to leave their house, for those not near a meeting, and for those not yet ready to join us in person.
• We are facilitating the Burnaby Pride Community Action Network (PCAN) group to ensure that local residents have a voice in the organizing process.
• And we have a year-long campaign to encourage others to make social media more accessible by including image descriptions, ensuring hashtags and @HandleNames have the first letter of each word capitalized (so screen-readers can read them), and that those who create videos include captioning and transcripts.

And those are just a few of our current projects. We are excited and proud to be doing this work and we will continue to work hard Creating Accessible Neighbourhoods (CAN).

(Image: CAN’s orange logo, the top is two heads with their arms stretching to the side and down to make a half circle, centered between and under the top two heads is another head and arms to the side and downwards, there is another head at the bottom with its arms to the side and upwards towards the other arms, creating an image of embrace. Text: Creating Accessible Neighbourhoods (CAN) (new website coming soon) 604.437.7331))