ICYMI, the Vancouver Black Library recently opened in the historic Hogan’s Alley in Strathcona thanks to the tireless efforts of Vancouver’s BIPOC community members & beyond. And it looks like we aren’t the only ones who are excited to check it out. Following Monday’s concert at Rogers Arena, Miss Lizzo herself decided to give the library and community hub a special shout-out.
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Now that we’ve heard from the queen herself, let’s dive into the library’s work and the historical significance of Horgan’s Alley.
For folks who don’t already know – Hogan’s Alley was once a sprawling, cultural hub in Vancouver’s East End, and home to much of the city’s BIPOC population by the early twentieth century. The area served as a much-needed nucleus for a diverse range of immigrants and people of colour – and during a time when overt racism and discrimination greatly limited these communities.
The construction of the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts in the 1970s destroyed most of the area’s buildings and displaced many residents – leaving a huge void in Vancouver’s Black community.
“Since then, most Black people in Vancouver seldom find themselves in a large-scale connected community,” explains Maya Preshyon, the founder and executive director of Vancouver Black Library.
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Flash forward to today – and Hogan’s Alley is now home to Vancouver’s first-ever Black Library. Located on Keefer Street near Gore Avenue, the space serves as a spot for Black and BIPOC community members to gather and study, chill, and connect with each other through skill-sharing.
We think Canadian author Wayde Compton said it best: “There has been a Black community in Vancouver since before there was a Vancouver.” And now, there is a dedicated, tangible space for connection and development.
In the future, the initiative hopes to extend its offerings to group therapy, childcare, art exhibitions, book clubs, poetry readings, zine production, and more. All of this, of course, is dependent on continued crowdfunding efforts and donations. You can view the library’s current goals & projections here.
The new library is open from 11 to 5 pm from Friday to Sunday on the basement floor of the Sun Wah Centre. Keep your eye on their socials for upcoming events, live performances, and even drag shows!
Vancouver Black Library
Where: 268 Keefer Street, Unit #072
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