MENU

Below the Radar Transcript

Episode 16: A political life: from grassroots to parliament — with Libby Davies

Speakers: Melissa Roach, Maria Cecilia Saba, Jamie-Leigh Gonzales, Libby Davies, Jack Webster

[theme music]

Melissa Roach  0:06 
You’re listening to Below the Radar, a knowledge mobilization project recorded out of 312 Main. This podcast is produced by SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement. 

Maria Cecilia Saba  0:17 
Below the Radar brings forward ideas to encourage meaningful exchanges across communities. 

Jamie-Leigh Gonzales  0:21
Each episode we interview guests on topics ranging from environmental and social justice, arts, culture, community building, and urban issues. This podcast is recorded on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples.

[theme music]

Melissa Roach  0:42 
How do you talk about a lifetime of political weight and activism in only thirty minutes? Well, you can’t, really, but we sure did try. This is Below The Radar, and our next guest is Libby Davies, a lifelong activist and former member of parliament for Vancouver East, who got her start organizing and advocating for people in the Downtown Eastside community over forty years ago. My name is Melissa Roach.

Jamie-Leigh Gonzales  1:05 
And I’m Jamie-Leigh Gonzales, and we’re your hosts for this episode, talking to Libby about the history of organizing in the neighbourhood, as well as her experiences as an activist and a woman in politics. We’re also talking to her about her recently released book about those experiences, called Outside In: A Political Memoir

Melissa Roach  1:22 
Which will be launching at SFU later this month, on May 22nd, and you’re all invited to join us to hear more about Libby then. She’s also invited a panel of guests to be in conversation with her.

Jamie-Leigh Gonzales  1:33 
We really enjoyed doing this interview and we hope you enjoy listening to it.

[theme music fades]

Melissa Roach  1:44 
Hi, Libby!

Libby Davies  1:45 
Hello!

Melissa Roach  1:45 
Thank you for coming in today.

Libby Davies  1:47
My pleasure.

Melissa Roach  1:49
We are excited to talk to you about your memoir, Outside In. And we’re very excited to be launching it later this month -- it’s something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. And we were talking about the book and remarking on what an incredible storyteller you are, which I remember from hearing you speak before, but it’s just a joy to read, as well.

Libby Davies  2:12 
Oh, thank you. 

Melissa Roach  2:15 
Reading these glowing reviews, I came across this term. People are saying that you do this work kind of at the intersection of social justice and politics, which you think would be not intersecting, but one and the same, at least in my mind. So I came across the term “activist politician”, so I wanted to ask you, what does it mean to you to be an activist politician? Or, is that how you identify yourself? Because you talk about the need for activists, advocates, and politicians to all work together, but how does it change conversations around the table if people who are elected when representatives come from activist backgrounds?

Libby Davies  2:58 
Well, I think it’s a really great way to start. And often, you know, when I would go to meetings, I would never introduce myself as a politician because it had --it does, still have-- such a negative connotation for people. This idea of a politician is like an insider, someone who only cares about themself, and their political advancement, you know? And so I was used to saying that I was an MP, or an elected representative, and so the idea of an activist politician to me has always reflected on the idea that your purpose, your involvement, is something bigger than the formal, sometimes very small world of politics. Whether it’s in Ottawa, whether it’s provincial, whether it’s locally, the formal world of politics can be tight, it can be the inside game, so then this idea that we have to get beyond that, we have to find these connections between social movements, activism and the political world. We can’t ignore each other, right?

Libby Davies  4:14
And that’s fascinated me over forty years, this connection (or lack of connection) between what I would call social movement politics, or activism, and the more formal world of politics and, why do we collide so often? Why do we misunderstand what we do? Why are we not better allies on the progressive side? Why aren’t we working together more closely, when we know who the real -- I hate to use the word “enemy”--, but when we know what the real forces against us are, why aren’t we working together more closely? So that’s always fascinated me, and I wanted to kinda bring that out. I have always seen myself as that kind of bridge, because I’ve lived and worked in both worlds. But, really, I always saw myself as an organizer. Even when I was in Ottawa, it was my Ottawa job, and so this idea that I’m still an organizer at heart, that’s how I approached things, that’s how I approach politics, it’s very much part of my kind political DNA.

Melissa Roach  5:18 
That’s a great start because for me that captures a lot of the flavour of the book. And, you’re so great at, like you said, “acting as that bridge”, and working at so many levels, municipally and all the way to Ottawa. My other question is about the book itself, the memoir: How was the process of writing a memoir for you? I know it’s kind of a long process, and memory works in kind of tricky ways, I find, like, you don’t always remember things in chronological order, you can’t just recall things at will. How was that experience for you? And, were there any stories that came up after you said, “Here’s my final draft”? Like, were there things that came up after that, and you were like “Oh, I wish that could have come to me earlier”?

Libby Davies  6:17 
I love that question, because people don’t always ask you about the process itself. It took me two years, on and off. I remember once talking to Olivia Chao -- in fact this was just last summer-- and she said, “How’s [the book] coming?”, and I said, “Well, you know, I’m getting there”, and she said “Oh, for God’s sake, just go hire a ghostwriter, it’ll be done in two months.” And I said “No, I’m still plugging away at it”. But, you know what? I loved the writing, and, in a weird way, that was the easy part. I couldn’t stop. I did it all in an iPad, with two fingers; I don’t have a laptop or a desktop, it is all in my iPad. And, weirdly, the most challenging part was after I’d done the first several drafts and starting doing the editing, I work with a wonderful editor in Toronto, Tillman Lewis, and it was the technical challenges of doing the tracking, and I’m not very good at technical stuff, so that was actually strangely really hard -- well, not hard, but I found it frustrating. The actual writing, I think I had all this stuff stored up in my brain for forty years and it just started spilling out.

Libby Davies  7:38 
But, you’re absolutely right, Melissa; even now it’s like, “Oh my God! I didn’t say this; I forgot about that.” So the process of writing itself, and I’m sure many people experienced this, even when you write a paper, the very process of writing triggers your memory. But, I think what was more important for me was talking to people. I didn’t talk to a lot of people, I felt so shy about writing this, I didn’t share it all over the place, but Am Johal was, I think, the first person who read the first draft, and I was like “Oh, what’s he gonna say!” But, actually, speaking with people really triggered my brain to remember things, because I really wanted to remember these early days in the Downtown Eastside, even before it was called the Downtown Eastside, because there’s actually not many people left who were there at that time. I mean, I’m still here. Jean Swanson is still here. But there’s very few people left. And I thought, “My God, we have to put this down on paper”. And so, I would often phone up Jean and say, “Jean, do you remember when we did this?” and it was weird, we would have completely different memories; she would go, “Oh, I forgot about that, but I do remember this.” So, you know, it’s really a very dynamic process of your memory, right. But I can absolutely tell you that even now I’m thinking, “Wow, there’s so much I did not say that I should have said in the book”. But, you know, you also have to be manageable. I think I could have written a whole book just on the Downtown Eastside part, there was a lot more to say, but I wanted to cover distance and all the stuff that happened. 

Melissa Roach  9:27 
How do you distill forty years of experience into so many pages? 

Libby Davies  9:32 
That’s really good, because the other challenge, it’s one thing to madly write out everything that you remember, you know, and to try and make it colourful and interesting. But how you develop the overall narrative, like in the themes. I got wonderful feedback from an editor in East Van, she’s retired now, Barbra Pooling. She did an amazing job, she helped me understand that I needed to be a lot more personal. I really said nothing about my own life, and she said, “People wanna know”. So she really coached me and helped me on that. So again, it’s that process back and forth with people and developing what the narrative is, and I don’t think I understood that before I started. It’s not just one long chronological thing, it’s like you gotta have themes, you gotta have questions you’re addressing, so I kinda came to understand the process. I’m still learning, I feel I’m very much a novice at doing this. 

Jamie-Leigh Gonzales  10:36 
I think the way that you wrote it, everything was very humanizing to a political world that maybe Melissa and I were a little bit outside of, because, like you say, Jean Swanson is still around, but a lot of these folks aren’t around, so for us these are people that kinda set up where we are now, but they’re not players in the game. And one thing that stood out was that early on you mentioned how Bruce would go for breakfast…

Libby Davies  11:05 
Right across the street

Jamie-Leigh Gonzales  11:06 
Yeah, with Harry and with Jack Webster who, you know, you sent us that video link later with you on the show, and I was like, “Wow, there have a real human connection”. But then, when you get on the show, like you’re talking “goal gosping” --I think that’s what you called it, about local politics over breakfast every morning. But on the show he’s just cut-throat, and sexist, and I was kind of shocked.

Libby Davies  11:35 
You wrote me an email saying, “This was hard to listen to”. And I’m so glad you did that because part of my own understanding and writing is learning how so much over the decades I denied my own experience as a woman in politics. I mean, even after writing the book and talking about the book, again I really didn’t go into that enough. And so when I saw that Jack Webster clip that you saw, I just remembered him as this curmudgeonly old guy…

Jamie-Leigh Gonzales  12:16 
Grumpy…

Libby Davies  12:17 
Yeah, and Harry was like that too. But, you see, I was used to these guys. I thought it was like, regular. And I would hang out with them and sit there and listen, and I was in my early twenties. And it’s only now, looking back on that clip, which was leading up to the 1982 Civic Election campaign, where they were so sexist towards me-- and George Puil too. It’s stunning.

Jamie-Leigh Gonzales  12:44 
We’ll play the clip. 

Jack Webster  12:45 
Who I’ve known for a long time and they’re working with the Downtown Eastside Residents Association. Now, Are you Brucey’s wife?

Libby Davies  12:52 
That’s right, Bruce Eriksen.

Jack Webster  12:53 
Bruce Eriksen’s wife. And you’re running for COPE.

Libby Davies  12:55 
That’s right.

Jack Webster  12:56 
And you’re both seeking and you’ll both serve as a husband and wife team working together for COPE if you are both elected. 

Libby Davies  13:04 
Well, Bruce and I have been involved in civil politics for about ten years. I’ve run for council before, I’ve been very active with DERA, I’m presently on the Parks Board, so both of us being involved in civic politics and me running for council it’s something that’s certainly not new.

Jack Webster  13:20 
How many Eriksen-Davies babies?

Libby Davies  13:21 
There’s just one. Lief, who’s three. Lief Eriksen.

Jack Webster  13:23 
Lief, who’s three. And will Leif be looked after if you’re both elected?

Libby Davies  13:28 
Oh, yeah. We’ll still look after him, you bet.

Jamie-Leigh Gonzales  13:33 
You were so polite! So much tact. It just blows my mind because he doesn’t really give you any space to introduce yourself, he cuts you off, and now, for me listening, I think part of what was so shocking was that he goes “Well, you know who’s gonna be at home taking care of the baby”. Or, “Is Lief gonna be OK?”. Which is like, mind-boggling, but now, also me being six months pregnant, I was like, “If somebody said that to me right now…”.

Libby Davies  14:03 
I’m so happy to hear you say that because to me that is evidence that the culture is changing, although there’s still a lot of sexism.See, at the time –this is terrible- I don’t think I gave it a second thought. But Kim, my partner, when she looked at it, we wrote an article --I wrote an article for the Toronto  Star, and she said to me, “You’ve got to put in this bit about Jack Webster and how you kinda looked down”. But she felt that there was some anger there as well, that I looked down and said, “Well, of course we will, we’ll be looking after Lief”.

Jamie-Leigh Gonzales  14:39 
Yeah

Libby Davies  14:39 
So, I feel like it’s been this kind of slow burn for four decades of understanding this experience, and realizing, “Wow, that stuff really happened”. Yes, you would absolutely call it out today, but I didn’t. Why didn’t I? Because I didn’t know it? Because it just seemed normal? Because these men were my mentors? It’s very complicated, right? But now I’m seeing it, and I’m as shocked as you are.

Jamie-Leigh Gonzales  15:13 
Which is good, it does mean that there’s been some progress in the last bit with women in positions of power…

Libby Davies  15:21 
I mean even George Puil saying, “Oh, no, now he wants to get his wife elected”. It’s like, “Really?!”

Jamie-Leigh Gonzales  15:28 
I know. It was hard for me to listen to it. Sure, it was a different generation, but to think these were the leaders of our city at the time, you know? And these were the influencing –and Jack Webster being one of the influential minds—

Libby Davies  15:44 
We have the Jack Webster Award…

Jamie-Leigh Gonzales  15:46 
Yeah, the Journalism Award.

Melissa Roach  15:51 
It seems that in other areas you weren’t afraid to call people out, to call things out. Going to chapter one, “Organize, Organize, Organize”, reading about the heydays of DERA, the Downtown Eastside Residents Association, and the kind of rubble-rousers you were…

Libby Davies  16:10 
We were.

Melissa Roach  16:12 
My reading was, “Oh, here’s this badass group going after the system and calling out stereotypes and injustices about this neighborhood, but also you say that this inequality persists at a large scale, those issues are, like, ever present. So, what do you think that 1970’s Libby would think of politics in the Downtown Eastside today?

Libby Davies  16:42 
Well, if we could go back in time and then have this vision of the future as we know it now, I think it would be, on the one hand, shocking that we’re still dealing with many of the same issues, but also, I think to me, the most important thing would be that the Downtown Eastside still exists, it didn’t get wiped out, like pretty well any other inner city in North America that got gentrified, wiped out, hollowed out. That this community –because it is a community—still survives and is very resilient, even though there’s been so many changes. I think, if I went back and was looking forward, I think I would feel proud of that, that this community has continued even though there are still incredible inequalities around income, that housing is still a major issue. And that there are new issues, because back then we really didn’t see, it wasn’t really homelessness, you know? It didn’t really exist. People lived in the crappy hotels and roomy houses, but you didn’t see people literally destitute on the street. The issue of people using drugs really was not visible. So, there’s obviously been very major shifts as well in terms of what’s happening in the community. And, also, back then the indigenous community was very, very small. So the people coming from reserves to the urban areas and establishing the Downtown Eastside as a very strong indigenous community, that’s also a major change that forty years ago was not that evident.

Melissa Roach  18:33 
That part is amazing.

Libby Davies  18:35 
Because now it’s very strong, it’s pretty much part of the identity of the Downtown Eastside and a lot of the amazing leadership is coming from young indigenous people in the community.

Jamie-Leigh Gonzales  18:46 
There was one part of the book where you talk about Bruce kinda standing up for indigenous rights in a way, like with language that was very much…

Libby Davies  18:58 
Oh, that was the Mackenzie Valley pipeline.

Jamie-Leigh Gonzales  19:00
Yeah! 

Libby Davies  19:01 
Wow! I found that by accident. I went to the hearing, it was at a hotel, the Hyatt or something, I found it by accident, I was googling something else and I went, “Oh, wow, yeah”, and I found the speech of the presentation that he made for DERA, and I started reading it and it just, like, blew me away. Like, the language and the issues, in terms of colonization and people being dispossessed of their land, like this is what we were raising forty years ago…

Jamie-Leigh Gonzales  19:33 
And it’s now becoming mainstream conversation, but that he was that progressive to recognize the impacts that it had and…

Libby Davies  19:43 
And people back then… DERA was considered like –as I say this – a militant, radical, way off the grid group, right? But that issue was real, and to put it on the public agenda at a Royal Commission hearing, I think, was very important. So, it’s that kind of history that I wanted to make sure was recorded, I mean, just bits of it, there’s so much more. So that people can see the early beginnings and the roots of this particular community and the changes that have taken place.

Jamie-Leigh Gonzales  20:01 
Yeah, and the language, too, like, indigenous rights are connected to these global issues, right? And I think this was something you quoted, Harry Rankin saying, “Civil Politics is just stuck on, like, potholes and dogshit” (laughs). And so, like, what is sort of the importance of the municipal government taking on more global issues?

Libby Davies  20:46 
If we understand that change begins at the bottom, it begins at the grassroots, it begins in a local community, it begins where oppression exists, it begins where people are fighting to stop something, or to maintain something, it’s always at the local level. And so, the engagement, politically, at the local level, is really important. And I think that’s always been a very strong issue in Vancouver and it took me years to understand what an impact DERA had politically on the city, overall. Even today, right? DERA doesn’t exist anymore but the politics of the Downtown Eastside and what happens down here has a huge impact on the city, so that connection is palpable, it’s very real, and it has a lot of meaning, and a lot of consequences, if you embrace it or if you ignore it. So hopefully that is interesting to people to see some of the origins of that too, because it was sort of a forgotten neighbourhood, it wasn’t seen as a neighbourhood, it didn’t exist, you know? People down here were seen as nothing. And, well, we don’t see that today now, right? I mean, most people in Vancouver today might not like everything that they see, but they do understand that it’s a real place and that people live here. Sorry, I’m losing my trail of thought here and trailing off.

Jamie-Leigh Gonzales  22:21 
That’s okay, I think kind of the eighties was like the last time where we didn’t have such an intricately-woven globalized world, because now everything has been like broken open and we can see everything. It feels like what we experience here, we can connect to people on the other side of the world. So I think, like, municipal governments are taking on more global issues also because those global issues impact community, impact civic elections, in some ways, I think, I hope so, anyways.

Libby Davies  22:56 
Yes, and I think people see that now as part of the political discourse, locally, like connecting. So, the whole issue in the book around the nuclear arms race in the eighties, and Vancouver declaring itself a nuclear weapons free zone, and some of the signs are still up around the city.

Jamie-Leigh Gonzales  23:16 
Totally! I remember seeing one of those signs. I grew up, like, a little outside the city, so when I first moved into the city I was like, “What? Does it need to be stated?”

Libby Davies  23:24 
That was the first time that connection was being made. And there was criticism for it, right? As you say, this idea that civic politics was really just about fixing streets and potholes, and things like that. But this idea that we were connected globally and what happened globally, has an impact on people who live in the city. We get that today, and it’s a very important connection. Most changes are coming through the cities…

Jamie-Leigh Gonzales  23:52 
Which is, like, incredible to see the work that you’ve done to make it a nuclear-free zone, and to have me grow up thinking, “Well, yeah, obviously. Is that even necessary to say?”, but it was, like, a fight that you took on, so that’s pretty incredible, that I could grow up being oblivious to this because of the work that you’ve done.

Libby Davies  24:12 
This is why we need to always keep talking and recording and writing and history. I’m thinking of the book that just came out about labour history in BC. I mean, it’s so important. Labour history has been so critical to the development of our city and even of BC, right? And a lot of people don’t know that, right? The history of labour and the struggles that took place. Rod Mickleburgh wrote the book and it’s the history of the labour movement in BC. An incredible book, I mean, it’s a big book, with lots of photographs of this history. And the DTES, like, during the Depression, what was called the Powell Street Grounds, now Oppenheimer Park, was the centre of many of the struggles of unemployed workers.

Melissa Roach  24:48 
You’ve mentioned in the book that’s where the On-to-Ottawa Trek was initiated?

Libby Davies  25:03 
Yeah, it was all centered.

Melissa Roach  25:06 
Things were happening right here. Do you mind if we talk about Ottawa?

Libby Davies  25:13 
Not at all.

Jamie-Leigh Gonzales  25:14 
What’s going on in Ottawa?

Melissa Roach  25:17 
To me the job of a member of parliament seems very far away from me, so it’s wild to have one in real life, you’re sitting right here before me. I’m wondering how your experiences and your trajectory as an organizer in politics shaped how you were in your job as an MP. Being an activist and being out, which wasn’t a thing in parliament. If you could speak a little to what was like for you.

Libby Davies  25:53 
I think I’ve struggled with the same question, like, “What am I meant to do as a member of parliament?” I was used to being a city councilor. City council is a very egalitarian place, each councilor is there in the same room, at the same time, they were voting, debating. In Ottawa it is very hierarchical, established by partners and how many seats you have, it’s very focused on the party itself. And I went to Ottawa knowing what I had to do, because people were dying of drug overdoses and infected with HIV/AIDS. It was a crisis, sort of the first wave of the crises of drugs in the community. But I didn’t know how to approach it and it was really when I began to think about, how would I do this if I was an organizer? So, there’s a few stories in the book about how I approach the issue, and I would say that critical to working on those issues was maintaining a very close connection with groups like VANDU. And that’s what kept me going. They needed an ally in Ottawa, but I also needed them to understand what was going on, truly on the ground.

Libby Davies  27:13 
In Ottawa, I found, it was very easy for people to be drawn into this vortex of all that intrigue, and we still see that today, right? Like, who’s doing what, and somebody did this, and it just feeds on itself. For me, I was much more focused on issues, and what I felt we needed to do to fight on those issues, whether it was on housing and homelessness, or people who use drugs, and how people are criminalized, or the missing and murdered women, sex worker rights. It was, I think, learning again how to bring the experience I had as an organizer to parliament. It’s funny, I always saw myself, first and foremost, as an organizer, not as a parliamentarian, even though I became House Leader for the NDP. So, it was right in the middle of all of that internal stuff that goes on in Ottawa, in the House.

Melissa Roach  28:11 
Which is cool, it’s really cool.

Libby Davies  28:12 
Yeah, I learned so much! But, even then, it felt like dual lives, you know? Like I‘d be in Ottawa and I was so immersed in this minutia of what was going on in the house, and this motion, or that motion, this was about, especially in the minority Parliaments, where things were very fragile, and you never knew what was gonna happen, not only day-to-day, but literally hour-by-hour. But there was this other life, in Vancouver, that I would come back to every week, every weekend, or when the parliament was sitting, I‘d be here the whole week. And that’s what kept me grounded, right? And I remember having these conversations with Jack Layton when he was the Leader and saying, “I’m happy to be your House Leader, I’ll learn, I’ll do my best, but I have to keep working on these issues, because that’s what I’m elected for, that’s what’s important in our community”. And so it was that kind of duality. I look back now and think it was pretty weird because they were so different, but somehow, I managed to reconcile them most of the time. But, yeah, there were times when it was kinda frantic and stressful.

Melissa Roach  29:25 
Yeah, like you say, getting caught in the minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, of being in Parliament. I’m just remembering that Members of Parliament are representatives of their ridings, of their communities, and the people who elected them.

Libby Davies  29:39 
Sometimes people forget that, right?

Melissa Roach  29:41 
That it’s not just about party politics, it’s about the people you’re working for.

Libby Davies  29:45  
But I think I had the incredible privilege to represent East Vancouver, that is an activist community. I mean, I think I know lots of neighbourhoods and communities across Canada, and there are centers of activism, but Vancouver East… wow! You know, there’s so much that’s in the history, and what happens now, and so I always feel like that was just an incredible thing, right? Being connected to that. Whereas for many MPs, if they’re representing a suburban riding, or… it sounds like I’m being very dismissive, I mean, there’d be different issues there. Like, I would not know how to represent a huge rural riding. I wouldn’t know how to go about doing it, my experience is so different. And that’s what’s so amazing about our parliamentary system; you have these MP’s who represent such hugely different kinds of populations and communities. But, for me, because it was East Van, and the history we have, and the activism we have, it propelled me every day. It compelled me, as well, to stay on top of stuff, and to keep moving; to keep moving and to keep working.

Melissa Roach  30:59 
Yeah, it shows amazing longevity… so many decades… (laughs)

Libby Davies  31:04 
You do build up a lot of stamina (laughs)

Jamie-Leigh Gonzales  31:08 
Well, you told us that you had written sort of an alternative ending to the book, which was an open letter to youth. Can you tell us a little bit about what that was and where that came from?

Libby Davies  31:21 
It actually came from Am. Give him full credit.

Jamie-Leigh Gonzales  31:26 
But the heart and soul of the letter, where did that come from?

Libby Davies  31:28 
Well, just the idea that there were certain things, or truths, that I felt I had come across as a result of experience, and you kinda want to share that, right? I don’t want to lecture people; everyone finds their own path, you find your own wisdom, your own truth. But, I also learned that having people around you who have done other things, or maybe similar to what you’re doing, you can learn from that. So, I wanted to share. I wanted this to also be a book that younger activists could pick up, and who are struggling with this issue of how do they engage with this crazy, political world of formal politics, right? How do they make change? And that was very much a current for me throughout the book, that kept me writing. That question, right? How does change happen? How can I share that with people? And so, the letter at the end was to, sort of distill some of the things I learned, right? This idea that you’re not alone. That you should go join something, that you’re much more powerful when you join something. But, the other thing was giving space to people, you know? Like, I don’t know it all – none of us know it all. This idea of sharing space and experience, and building on that, and making it more powerful, is very important. It’s about cooperation. It’s about collaboration. And if I had negative experiences, it was always about the, sometimes, the discord on the left, right? When people end up fighting over things that sometimes in the long run, you think, “Really? Come on”. We have to get through this, we have to get past it, we have to learn how to stand together and get through these differences. I kinda wanted to get that over, so that idea, like Am’s idea of a letter that would be written with some of these understandings, I thought was a great idea. It did end up being cut out.

Melissa Roach  33:40 
I hope that you’ll publish it in another format.

Libby Davies  33:44 
I did send it to Am, it’s actually a very short letter, but the ideas in that letter are still there in the conclusion of the book. But the idea of the letter itself, it didn’t actually stay in.

Jamie-Leigh Gonzales  33:55 
Well, I think the intention behind the letter is here, because you’re sitting here talking to two women in their twenties who are interested and trying to engage. So, these themes are important for us to hear because we do burn out, also, and it’s nice to hear these things from somebody who has, like, really experienced it all.

Libby Davies  34:17 
But, you know, I’m learning as much, it’s not a one-way street. You know, every day, and now too, because I’m still involved in things, I learn from younger activists, like, “Wow, that’s incredible, I didn’t know that”, or “That’s a great way of doing it”, so it’s not like the way it used to be, is the way it has to be. Things evolve. How we work together evolves, I mean just this space here, at 312 Main Street, the idea of people sharing work space, and working together and collaborating is a really great thing. So, I do think it is a learning unfolding process, and that’s what I love; it really is about engaging.

Jamie-Leigh Gonzales  35:01 
I think that’s a good place to end.

Melissa Roach  35:02 
Yeah, thank you so much.

Libby Davies  35:04 
Oh, my pleasure, it’s lovely to talk to you.

Melissa Roach  35:07 
I’m so looking forward to the event later this month. Thank you so much, Libby. 

Libby Davies  35:14 
My pleasure.

Melissa Roach  35:15
We’ll talk to you soon!

[theme music]

Melissa Roach  35:19 
That was our conversation with Libby Davies. Thank you so much for listening. And thank you to Libby for coming in and sharing with us. And don't forget, we'll be launching Libby's memoir at SFU on May 22, at 7pm. You can find details for that at SFUWoodward's.ca, and it's a free event. All you have to do is register. Thanks so much, and we'll catch you next time.

[theme music fades]

Transcript auto-generated by Otter.ai and edited by the Below the Radar team.
May 06, 2019
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Reddit
SMS
Email
Copy

Stay up to date

Get the latest on upcoming events by subscribing to our newsletter below.