As a new publication, sometimes it can be challenging to get people to talk to you or trust you but thanks to all our readers, we have grown tremendously and gained the trust of community members to tell these stories and many more.
I am excited about this year but for now, here are my favourite stories of 2022.
Impact of increased gas prices
In January 2022, I interviewed multiple residents and business owners about how the increase in fuel cost affected their lives. Some residents who live on government allowance had to make tough decisions between groceries and gas.
Tonya Simpkin, 45, is one of them. She is a single mother and a differently-abled person, with a 13-year-old child. Her source of income is the provincial Persons With Disabilities (PWD) pension and a small business she runs from home.
For Simpkin, the increase in fuel price means a drastic impact on aspects of her life such as raising her child.
“I drive a lot because of my business and as I would be spending more money on gas, I won’t have any extra money for raising a child. I cannot just go and buy my child shoes because I have a limited amount of money.”
Black History Month
As a person of colour, stories about communities that have historically been marginalized are close to my heart. This Black History Month series was extremely special and telling because some of the people I interviewed did not know that there were other Black folks living in the community.
And this is why journalism is so important, it brings people together and makes them feel a little less alone in their journey.
A mother and supervisor at SD42, Aisha Pollard shared how she’s raising her children to be strong and proud of their culture and race.
“I want to teach them to be strong no matter what. Not let someone talk down or treat them poorly because of who they are.”
Several times, people have avoided crossing the street when they see her so they don’t have to cross by her or acknowledge that she’s there.
As a human being, she naturally gets taken aback by these encounters but chooses to rise above them.
Her hope is that as she continues to navigate society with her children, more people will acknowledge their biases and educate themselves.
Editor’s pick: Hospice supports people through the pandemic
Published in May 2022, another important and special story was sharing the story of Ridge Meadows Hospice Society and the work they continued to do throughout the pandemic.
This was the first in-person story I had the chance to work on when the pandemic’s impact started to recede.
Adhering to their mission statement ‘grief has no timeline’, the question for the hospice was not when but how they can continue to support families and patients in the evolving climate of pandemic mandates.
Being present alongside a loved one as they battle an illness became more challenging when people weren’t able to see each other. What was considered customary now became a desire.
“In a typical death, you’d be together at the hospital. You’d be going to chemotherapy, learning about the Hospice, and planning your funerals and celebrations. But all of that was severely challenged. We are just learning about the severe impact of these factors on [people’s] grief and loss,” said Lindsey Willis, executive director of Ridge Meadows Hospice Society.
Bannock and games bring Indigenous residents together
Another special story was a chance to learn about different First Nations, Inuit and Metis cultures and traditions by attending Fraser River Indigenous Society’s social events.
Conversations with an elder, history of Bannock and so much more was shared during this memorable evening.
This is what FRIS aims to continue doing, ensuring that all Indigenous community members feel a sense of belonging.
“During COVID-19, we didn’t meet in person, we met on Zoom. But, for the traditional kitchen, we need to come together to share. It’s not just about the food, it’s about the conversation, connection and sharing our cultural teachings,” said Jillian Currie, the event coordinator at FRIS.
Drought cause of concern for salmon spawning
I saw dry patches of the river and had a detailed conversation about what it meant for local salmon species.
“Salmon are a keystone species and without them, we would have a much larger problem at hand,” said Sophie Sparrow, communications manager for ARMS.
She explained that trees around the river rely on salmon, too. When a salmon is hunted down by wildlife or dies in the river, the carcass floats to the shore, resulting in its decay. The decayed bones provide nutrients to the soil necessary for plant growth.