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The following article appeared on the BlogTo.com website an my birthday, March 26/09.

Curriculum examines what puts kids on streets

October 26, 2009

Louise Brown

EDUCATION REPORTER

Beaten by her drunk, screaming husband, she throws her teenaged daughter out of the house to keep her safe.

In this heart-stopping high school play, the daughter then appears homeless, shivering on a curb. Two guys approach and offer shelter if she "shares something" with them.

Tossing a lost look at the audience, she sighs and then gives in.

Curtain.

"Great work – but you boys need to be more threatening," drama teacher Cameron Ferguson coaches the would-be pimps. "Touch her hair. And speak up when you tell her you know a way that she can make money ..."

In five gritty skits they wrote themselves that will premiere this week, teens at a Markham high school portray some of the reasons people land on the streets as part of an experimental new curriculum developed by York University that is a cornerstone of a new awareness project on homelessness.

The Homeless Hub website, run by York's faculty of education, is believed to be the world's first user-friendly clearing house on homeless issues – including the spread of the H1N1 virus in shelters – from videotaped testimonials to reports from front-line workers and scholarly research made easy to read.

As part of the move to bust stereotypes and boost awareness, York has developed lesson plans on this uneasy topic, plus primers for students themselves. The drama unit was being pilot-tested at Bur Oak Secondary School. Ferguson, who teaches at Bur Oak, helped write the new curriculum.

"Some people think homeless people are all lazy bums, and we didn't know the real causes until we started our research," said student Dania Zargaran, 16, who wrote a skit about a girl who lands on the streets after being rejected by friends and family because she is gay.

She says the class now knows that poverty, homophobia and physical abuse often propel young people onto the streets.

"A high percentage of gay kids become homeless because they get disowned by their families," said the Grade 11 student at the school near McCowan Rd. and 16th Ave.

This is exactly the kind of awareness professor Stephen Gaetz was hoping would come from the project. As associate dean of research in York's teaching faculty, he has overseen the gathering of more than 25,000 items, including podcasts and reading lists, onto the website at www.homelesshub.ca.

"The reality is, youth are often scared of the homeless because they don't have an understanding of how they got there, yet the homeless are far more likely to be victims of violence than to commit violence," said Gaetz.

"Our role is to seed the public discussion on the issue with facts, rather than stereotypes."

Teachers can find reading lists of books that provide opportunities for a discussion about the homeless, noted York Professor Evelyn Wilson – from The Odyssey to The Grapes of Wrath and even Harry Potter.

Toronto Star

Speaking for Toronto's Homeless: Ron Craven

blogTO | Toronto Blog

Posted by Corina

Filed in City

March 26, 2009

Ron Craven, known to some as Ronzig, is one of the most compelling voices I've heard in the call to combat homelessness on the streets of Toronto. So what does Ron see as the problem in getting Torontonians to take action? "I won't say that most people feel that homeless people deserve to die on the streets because they are substandard human beings, not better than vermin, but far too many Torontonians feel that way."

I could hardly pass up the chance to talk to this amazing survivor turned advocate; his story, incredible and almost unimaginable, demonstrates the ongoing challenges of fighting revolving door homelessness in our city.

Once a wealthy businessman who considered running for Mayor of East York, Ron Craven fell in love and fell victim to the world of crack cocaine. Within 2 years he was bankrupt and living on welfare, and spent the next 10 years struggling to get off the streets. Given his experiences on the streets of Toronto, Ron shares unique insight into the issues surrounding homelessness in our city.

How have you seen the 'fight' against poverty and homelessness change in recent years? Is the situation changing for the better or worse?

I think the situation is much worse. The politicians seem to be more concerned with hiding the problem than fixing it. That's the whole philosophy behind the Streets To Homes initiative. The city seems to think that placing people in substandard housing which is far below the building code or health standards and at rental rates far in excess of the amount allowed for with social assistance and moving them from the center of the city to remote areas, far away from friends and services and out of sight is an adequate solution.

The Safe Streets Act has nothing to do with safety. It was created explicitly to drive poor people out of sight.

Were there any good outreach attempts for Toronto's homeless this past winter?

I, like many of my homeless friends, have never been too interested in outreach as sponsored by the city. They have traditionally been designed to give the appearance of helping while actually aggravating life on he street. When the city forbade outreach workers to give us warm clothes or sleeping bags because that would enable us to remain homeless, the message was clear to all of us.

The city won't help. We place our faith and trust in the church and privately sponsored programs which actually try to help. Also, Streets to Homes has hired 48 new outreach and housing workers to cover the downtown area. We can hope that this will translate into less of my friends dying on the streets.

What sort of an impact is your story having in Toronto? Have you had any difficulty in getting your message out?

My mission is to increase understanding within the general population, not to directly effect immediate change. I am currently working on a project to document conversations I have with individual homeless people in which I focus on their stories to emphasize their humanity. I put these mini-documentaries on my YouTube site so that viewers will see that these are real people.

It's hard to measure results with a project like mine. The inertia I am working against is staggering and at times I feel I am preaching to the converted and not being heard by those who need to listen. I have never received any replies to emails sent to politicians at any level of government. They don't want to hear it. Yet I have had thousands of viewers come to my sites and if I can help people to better understand the issue, perhaps eventually there will be enough public outrage to force the politicians to listen.

Any thoughts on how changing politics might affect the homeless situation?

I am convinced that Harper, given his preference, would take away existing support for the homeless. Fortunately we have a minority government, and the parties Harper needs support from to stay in power are usually more helpful in their philosophies. I am optimistic that thinking the Obama government will put pressure on Canada to do more to alleviate the situation.

What can Toronto citizens do to positively impact the issue of homelessness in Toronto?

Citizens who are tired of seeing people sleeping on the sidewalk should first inform themselves about the issues involving homelessness: read the related articles in the newspapers and search the internet to learn the truth.

Once they are informed, they should write letters to the editors and to the politicians demanding a policy be instituted which will place enough income in the hands of poor people to enable them to pay rent. That means increasing the minimum wage to the point where a person can pay market rent and feed his family without the demeaning need to rely on food banks and clothing banks and other charities. There is no excuse for a person who is working for a living to have to rely on charity to make ends meet.

That also means increasing the rental portion of social assistance to a level that reflects the true cost of accommodation in the city. The present maximum rental allotment is less than $350.00 per month and the worst slum room available costs $450.00 per month. That $100.00 monthly shortfall guarantees homelessness for most social assistance recipients, unless they are in assisted housing, have a hidden income, or are living with a relative or friend who is willing to absorb the loss.

I have seen a lot of positive media response to the situation, which is very exciting. If the media treats it as a serious issue, their audience will become more enlightened and that will effect change.

More information on Ron and his story can be found at DownbutNotOut.com.

Comments (35)

Eva on March 26, 2009 1:28 PM

Thankyou for highlighting the issues of homelessness. I have a friend homeless there since November. Its a cold place in Winter. I appreciate that you have tried to break down some of the stereotypes of this increasing problem world wide. (In Ireland)

Paul on March 26, 2009 2:10 PM

"That means increasing the minimum wage to the point where a person can pay market rent"

Seriously?! Ontario already has a high minimum wage to begin with and increasing it to ridiculous amounts like $15-20/hr just ends up in more unemployed and potentially inflation.

Before someone jumps on me for mentioning something business-related; I'm not saying that the homeless issue should be taken care of, just that increasing the minimum wage is a bad idea.

Corina on March 26, 2009 2:25 PM, replying to a comment from Paul

The recent increases in minimum wage (since about 2003) were a LONG TIME COMING, going up to $8.75 last March, with planned increases to $9.50 as of March 31, 2009 and $10.25 as of March 31, 2010.

Given that it is deemed reasonable to spend between 40 and 60% of your income on rent, this would just barely cover market rent in a crummy area.

keven on March 26, 2009 3:15 PM, replying to a comment from Paul

actually it would be a good investment, especially right now.

The more money people have, the more money people spend. This much is clear.

Damian on March 26, 2009 3:29 PM

i was once homeless. mostly due to my own stupid, selfish behavior. many i came accross had the same story as me. i did need to rely on the safety net to get my footing. you're right about the church and privately sponsored programs taking it to the next level. but at the end of the day, homeless people really need to change their attitude about life and try to use the help that is out there. if they do not show signs of willingness to change themselves they need to be cut off from the support. and left to their own devices to live and provide for them selves. some folks need to really hit rock bottom before they are willing to change. they need to be willing to actually do something about their situation. not all, but most people i've come across when i was on the street only cared about getting high and how to manipulate others to get what they wanted. i don;t like harper or politics but i don't really think its their problem to solve.

queen on March 26, 2009 3:39 PM, replying to a comment from Corina

"just barely cover rent in a crummy area" ???

Let's see, assuming you pay 50% of your minimum wage salary towards rent, and you working full time, as of April 1st you've got $760. Plugging that into housing maps in Toronto and there's listings all over the place. Close to UT, High Park, St. Clair...etc. Your statement is ridiculous.

Ryan L. on March 26, 2009 4:23 PM, replying to a comment from keven

"The more money people have, the more money people spend. This much is clear."

Not necessarily. Most of the people who aren't spending money now aren't people with a lack of funds. They are just people concerned about the economy and are saving their money in the event the recession starts hittinng closer to home.

 

Corina on March 26, 2009 4:47 PM, replying to a comment from queen

Well queen, you're ignoring a few important issues... first you must pay into CPP, EI and some income tax with each pay cheque. This is true even if you're earning minimum wage. So you won't take home the $1570 or so you've calculated, but probably closer to $1200. Second, although 50% of your income towards rent is do-able, you're not adding on hydro, bills, and any other living expenses that may be incurred.

Finally, and most importantly, plugging in a rent value to any rental sites for Toronto will HARDLY give you a realistic picture of what's available. Ever been apartment hunting? Ever seen what the cheapest apartments have to offer? I lived in Flemo for financial reasons for awhile... trust me, you wouldn't want your kid living in most apartments in Toronto around the $700/mo mark. Of course, those nice gems do exist at reasonable rents, but in a competitive market (low rent = competitive) you can bet that a homeless person earning minimum wage won't be at the top of most landlord's lists.

Ridicule all you like, but if you think you can guarantee low rent based on what you plugged into a Toronto housing map well... most renters would find that ridiculous.

blogger on March 26, 2009 6:30 PM

Really appreciated reading this post. Keep on the good work Ron!

I can't understand how anyone can think $6.85/$10 currently is a liveable wage in a city like Toronto. I also can't understand why anyone would want to hijack this meaningful post with mouthbreather comments against homeless/the poor/the working poor. It's like I'm suddenly reading comments on a G&M/Toronto Star online article or something.

yammy on March 26, 2009 9:05 PM

Ron Craven your story is enlightening. I have attended some of the open CA meetings with family and have heard similar experiences however, yours has truly been a moving one..I can only really say that it is amazing that you have made it this far in all your hardships, but as long as you have that will to survive, you can do it. Thanks for sharing.

Corina, thanks for posting this.

merriemelodies on March 26, 2009 9:06 PM, replying to a comment from Damian

Good on ya for calling the situation what it is. If these people don't have any desire to better their position and only want to stick it in society's eyeballs (not to mention their own, in a self-annihilating way), then leave them to the elements and natural selection. People who fall on hard times and really want to come back will find a way to do exactly that. This situation doesn't exist in many countries (eg. Hong Kong), 'cause they don't put up with antisocial, passive/aggressive bullshit.

Corina on March 26, 2009 11:38 PM, replying to a comment from merriemelodies

Uh, Hong Kong? Really?

http://globalvoicesonline.org/2009/03/19/hong-kong-ng-hao-big-naug-or-you-are-dead/

queen on March 27, 2009 2:51 AM, replying to a comment from Corina

Well I had no problem living in the Queen/Spadina area for 2 years at around $550 inc. utilities, and it wasn't hard to find. Yeah it was a shared apartment, but seriously if people are making minimum wage what do they expect? A penthouse in Yorkville? Get real.

And I think you just proved merriemelodies point, the cops in HK don't take shit.

Ron Craven (Ronzig) on March 27, 2009 5:27 AM

Thank you Corina. Great article and a nice birthday present. I'm very interested in the comments. It's a little disheartening to see so many callous people in this city. It seems I have a lot more work to do. Perhaps as the recession escalates and some of them find themselves homeless they'll begin to understand.
On the bright side, at least condemnation of the homeless vermin is not unanimous. There are many who care left in this monetary world.
To all, I say that the evolution of our society is at a crucial turning point RIGHT NOW. We will see radical changes in the fabric of our society as a result of the current economic meltdown.
We will either experience a decimation of the middle class resulting in a 2 class society with an unreachable void between the two with no hope of advancement ( a master and slave society)
or
we will evolve into a more homogeneous society where all human beings are of value and will have the opportunity to live with security, freedom and dignity.
The choice is ours.

merriemelodies on March 27, 2009 6:54 AM, replying to a comment from Ron Craven (Ronzig)

"...where all human beings are of value and will have the opportunity to live with security, freedom and dignity.
The choice is ours."

All human beings ARE of value. But if the individual him/herself for whatever reason has insufficient self-worth, determination, and dignity, there is no amount of societal lovingkindness gonna turn that situation around. Social workers and do-gooders and government tax dollars are not going to fix that. Ya gotta want it and make it for yourself, Ron. Ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

Ron Craven (Ronzig) on March 27, 2009 7:11 AM, replying to a comment from merriemelodies

The problem with your assessment is the fact that most of the people we are discussing at one time had self-worth, determination, and dignity, until it was crushed out of them by the machinery of this society.

Ron Craven (Ronzig) on March 27, 2009 7:42 AM, replying to a comment from merriemelodies

I am not proposing a Free Lunch as you say, just a more equitable share of a very large pie. It seems that people will superimpose their own prejudices to misconstrue my meaning no matter how I try to explain my stance.

Ron Craven (Ronzig) on March 27, 2009 7:52 AM, replying to a comment from Ron Craven (Ronzig)

Furthermore, since the inequities of our present system are the primary cause of the problem, it behooves us to assist the victims in their efforts to re-establish themselves in our society as a first step in correcting these inequities.
If you reject my statement that there are inequities, how do you justify that one person can earn a million dollars per year when another who works just as hard has to try to support his family on a minimum wage that is insufficient to house and feed them?

Feldwebel Wolfenstool on March 27, 2009 9:19 AM

Part of the very valuable social work the Pigs perform, is to lean on the poor and homeless, to harass them into LEAVING for somewhere else. The Police have better things to do. Like, protecting crooked politicians, or, how to figure out ways of skimming cash for themselves from their departmental budgets or pension funds.

damian on March 27, 2009 10:25 AM

its not crushed out of them by... the crack and meth.
get with it ron. you really have no clue do you?don;t try and spin this.

Ron Craven (Ronzig) on March 27, 2009 7:11 AM, replying to a comment from merriemelodies

The problem with your assessment is the fact that most of the people we are discussing at one time had self-worth, determination, and dignity, until it was crushed out of them by the machinery of this society.
Reply

Ron Craven (Ronzig) on March 27, 2009 10:34 AM, replying to a comment from damian

the drugs are the RESULT of this crushing, not the CAUSE of the problem.

Ron Craven (Ronzig) on March 27, 2009 10:36 AM, replying to a comment from Feldwebel Wolfenstool

Too true, but that's another story.

Samantha on March 27, 2009 10:56 AM

With all due respect Ron, it is clear by your story that when you were an addict, you were homeless, when you got clean, you got the help and shelter you needed.

you say the drugs a symptom of the problem, not the problem.

well, your own story tells us something different. You were a successful man. Then you became a drug addict. You lost everything for drugs.

I'm very sorry for your experience, but don't you see it is a life that YOU made?

Police corruption is a real problem, and so is how we deal with the homeless.

My point is simple Ron, we are defined by the choices we make.

You fight is valid Ron. Don't give up trying. Thank goodness your outcome was good, And I'm glad you have a voice to help those who need it.

Now, if we can help people help themselves, so much the better. And throwing money at the problem only helps the people who are truly trying to do better.

otherwise, we are just tossing money at the drug trade and the liquor store.

Corina, thanks for posting this. Bringing this story to light is a good thing.

Wondering on March 27, 2009 11:06 AM

Is sharing not an option? The emphasis here seems to be on single-person housing, but maybe buddying up might allow a decent place, such as an $800 one-bedroom apartment to be shared. It wouldn't be the nicest apartment, and you'd have to share, but that might be more of an option.

A lot of the non-homeless people I know can't afford to even live on their own, and live with roommates well into their twenties, albeit in 2- and 3-bedrooms, etc.

Another issue I wonder about is employability. A lot of the emphasis in the debate tends to be on the amount of assistance given out (whether it's blankets, clothes, food, or shelter at night), but after a basis of care has been established, shouldn't the real emphasis be on helping people get jobs?

It might be a low-paying one, but it should be able to secure a room somewhere in shared accommodation. I just wonder what sorts of job resources are available, and what both sides are: I'm sure one side says that there is the cyclical issue of no address/no job and prejudice, and the other says they are just lazy or not trying hard enough to find work.

I'd appreciate some feedback on the realities of both sides.

chenyip on March 27, 2009 11:29 AM

Feast or famine folks.

damian on March 27, 2009 2:12 PM, replying to a comment from Ron Craven (Ronzig)

RE: the drugs are the RESULT of this crushing, not the CAUSE of the problem

this is NOT true Ron. you know and i know it.

RE: we are just tossing money at the drug trade and the liquor store

exactly. is this what you want Ron. think about what you are saying Ron.

perhaps i wont change your mind. its good you've found something to beleive in. just dont force us to beleive in what your saying. especailly those of us who have experience first hand. it's insulting.

Justin on March 27, 2009 2:29 PM

Tear-jerkingly powerful.

merriemelodies on March 27, 2009 6:02 PM, replying to a comment from damian

Right on, man. Except for extreme situations (war zones, famine zones, totalitarian N Korea, natural disasters), wherever you are is a state of mind and attitude. Stop making excuses, Ron. Many of the most successful people around have had multiple failures, but they just get right back up and keep on punching until they make it. Like the dude at Yonge and Dundas says, BELIEVE!!!!!!!!!!!...in yourself, that is. And like Samantha says, homelessness is a choice. Crushed out of them by the machinery of this society, my ass.

Ronzig on March 27, 2009 7:19 PM

Certain people become so brainwashed by dogma that they forget how to think for themselves. Go ahead and cling to your misconceptions. I've had my say.

merriemelodies on March 27, 2009 8:11 PM, replying to a comment from Ronzig

What the motherfk is that supposed to mean? Brainwashed? By what dogma? And if you want to think for yourself, you sure as hell won't be homeless. You know, Ron, you'd do yourself and your cause one helluva lot more credit if you championed the self-power stuff and stomped upon the victim shit. Or maybe you should just apply for a job at the Assembly of First Nations. Now, THEY know how to spin the victim role.

I wish you and your ilk well. Nuff said.

Ronzig on March 28, 2009 8:43 AM

Capitalism, the new religion
The dogma of the cult of Capitalism is so ingrained into our society that any idea that conflicts with its strict adherence is met with violent, mindless rejection. Everywhere I turn, I am met with slogans from the Capitalist camp that have no basis in reality, but which profess to be the unquestionable facts. People, who know nothing of what they speak, spout these catchphrases as though they are great authorities on the subject and because the slogans are so ingrained into the public consciousness, people accept them as proof of the authority from whence they are spewed.
Against such overwhelming misinformation it is difficult for anyone who proposes a well thought out alternative proposition to be heard without angry and violent opposition from the true believers.
I wonder when Capitalism took on such a religious connotation. Surely it is foolhardy and extremely dangerous to allow a mere socio/economic philosophy to take on the trappings of religious conviction; for with it comes blind faith to the exclusion of all reasonable alternatives.
I have experienced ridicule and violent threats as a result of the theories I propose, which I am convinced possess greater merit that the existing accepted dogma which has led to the sorry state of affairs we find ourselves in at present.
Thankfully, I am not alone, for there are many thousands like me who recognize that the demise of the Capitalist system in its present state is inevitable. We must continue to explore the possible alternatives and work towards an evolution of the system into a more equitable one where all members of the world society can live in harmony, with free enjoyment of security and equal opportunity and acceptance. The present state of affairs where the murder and starvation of thousands of human beings daily is accepted as a necessary fact of life must be ended. It is not; it never has been; and it never will be acceptable!

AGC on March 28, 2009 1:23 PM, replying to a comment from Ronzig

I have to agree with you man, although I kinda gave up a while ago, but I definitely see people jerking off to the system when it's so clearly flawed and unequal in its opportunities....I'm afraid its gonna take a loooong time before we have something better, unless something out of the common happens.

Ronzig on March 28, 2009 1:40 PM, replying to a comment from AGC

Well, AGC, a voice from the wilderness. Welcome friend. Something out of the common is happening right now as we speak. We have entered into an economic implosion which the elite are hoping can be curtailed with huge bailouts of the very people and corporations that caused it. I expect that in the short run these measures which the poor and middle classes will eventually pay for with increased taxes to pay off the burgeoning debt, will initially show signs of success. But further down the road, I predict that as the money runs out, the systemic flaws that created the problem will rise again to bring on a second phase of recessionary economies world wide. If that happens, there will be no choice but to rethink the whole socio/economic structure. That's when the ture struggle will begin.

damian on March 31, 2009 4:02 PM, replying to a comment from Ronzig

i can barely read through your notes anymore ron. can you get corina to help translate? thanks. see you at AA tonight.

Ron Craven (Ronzig) on March 31, 2009 7:47 PM, replying to a comment from damian

Here's a link to a TVO full length movie by some the day's most profound thinkers that may help.
http://www.tvo.org/TVO/WebObjects/TVO.woa?video?ExaminedLife_Full_0_766443_ExaminedLife
Everyone should watch this.

 
 This photo from Eye Magazine shows how I looked in the year 2000
Burned out by police?
BY TOM LYONS Eye Magazine
May 18, 2000

Police officers from Toronto's 14 Division are being blamed for destroying and then setting fire to a squatters' camp at Spadina and Lake Shore, according to two homeless men who lived there.
The two men told eye the officers smashed up the camp and poured gasoline over the wreckage on the morning of May 4. Later, in the afternoon, a second pair of officers allegedly visited the collection of squats beneath the Spadina on-ramps to the Gardiner Expressway and Lake Shore Blvd. and set the remains on fire.
"I got a wake-up call in the morning there," says James Beach, 29. "It was nice, so I slept outside the squat, in the open under the bridge.
"The police came and woke me up at 7:30 in the morning. And they sort of took a look to the right after they woke me up, and noticed the structures we had built. They proceeded there, and started dismantling them. First, they woke up Pops [another homeless man] and kicked him out. He wasn't even allowed to get all his things, his belongings out of the houses. Then I witnessed them go back to the car and come back with some gas and spread it around the squats. I didn't see them light the match, though. But I came back later that day, at maybe 4 or 4:30, and it was all burned down. And my stuff was in one of the houses, too. I had a sleeping bag. Now I don't have one."
Beach identified the police car driven by the two officers as carrying the number 14S3.
Ron Craven, 54, who was also at the scene, recalls the police car's number as 14S23, rather than 14S3, and remembers being woken up at 8am, rather than 7:30.
"Thursday morning around 8am, two police officers from 14 Division came," says Craven. "I was sleeping in my squat with a couple of other guys. And they came and told us to get lost. These two guys moved quickly, and I stopped to grab my sleeping bag and stuff. They threatened to pepper-spray me. I went away, I came back, and they had just totally destroyed my camp. Smashed. I was working on getting a room, so I was starting to collect furniture and stuff. I had a filing cabinet and a nice little desk, that when I came back were just totally smashed up. Just for no reason at all. And the whole camp broken up.
"So I gathered up what I could retrieve from it and built another one beside it. And that was around noon, I guess I did that. Then, around 3 o'clock, I was out on the corner of Spadina and Lake Shore panhandling. And the 14S23 cruiser came along and asked me if I wanted to get arrested. I said no, not particularly. Then he came in here," continues Craven, pointing beneath the on-ramp, "and I stayed out here [by the intersection] and watched, and then the next thing I know, there's smoke coming up. After the firetrucks left, I went in to see, and there's nothing left.
"They burned everything. All my clothes. My pictures are the worst, eh? Because I got a 12-year-old. I got no pictures left of him now. And a computer. I had an old computer. And I had tools. I came back and just cried."
But the thing that angered him the most, says Craven, was the risk to his life and the lives of the other squatters. "I could have been sleeping there, under a pile of sleeping bags, and they wouldn't have seen me. I woulda gone up with it, too, if I'd been sleeping there. They don't give a shit."
Samuel Godfrey, a student lawyer at Parkdale Community Legal Services and a member of the Committee to Stop Target Policing (CSTP), visited the site, talked to eyewitnesses, and says their story rings true. He says the alleged incident is an example of the widespread police destruction of squatters' property that he other members of the CSTP complained about to the Toronto Police Services Board on Nov. 22, 1999.
"This is arson, pure and simple," he says. "It fits in with the criminal code definition, and it's a criminal act. It needs to be investigated."
Robert Kellerman, a Toronto defence lawyer and member of the Law Union, agrees. "Whether people are lawfully [camping] or not, I don't think police have a right to destroy property. If the property belongs to the squatters, it's their personal goods," says Kellerman. "If these guys burned something, it's arson. And it's clearly arson in the criminal code. Because no one has the right to light fire to someone else's property. And it's certainly mischief to damage property like that."
Kellerman adds that police would never consider destroying private property in Rosedale, even if it was left in someone else's yard.
"Obviously, this kind of solution is reserved for the poor. And people who they think should have no rights, and so on. I think it's similar to the situation in South Africa, during the apartheid regime, when people would squat on the outside of the city in shanty towns. And the government would just come along with bulldozers and bulldoze down people's homes and property. And it's the same attitude, that these people are basically outside the normal society, that they are somehow to be treated as if they're less than human."
A young woman who lived in the now-destroyed squats says the shelters offered a measure of safety in a precarious existence.
"At least over there I felt safe," she says. "I could go home and have a sleeping bag already there, and have my bed set up the way it is, and have my stuff there. I slept in the park the other day. It was Saturday. And I ended up waking up with an old man's hands down my shirt."
Allister Field, the complaints coordinator at 14 Division, said the station hadn't received any complaints from the homeless people making the accusations. He added that he would look into the matter and try to assure the men through their lawyer that it is "well within their rights to make a formal complaint under the Police Services Act."    

This photo from Eye Magazine shows all that was left of all my worldly possessions except the clothes on my back after the police torched my squat.

Memories, images of being `Asleep in Toronto'

May 23, 2007 04:30 AM

I’M the Ron in this article, Ronzig

After a quick check of their gear and an application of sunscreen, the photographers hit the streets. They are men of a certain age and they have a particular experience. Their cameras are disposable, for the most part. More to the point, they have all been homeless at one time. These days Jim, Ron, Jean-Guy and Kevin are all housed, and they are now working on a photo-documentary project called "Asleep in Toronto." They are making a record of the places on the street where they have slept, and they are shooting places where they might have liked to sleep, and they are also taking as many photos as they can of men and women who are, at the moment, bunking under our bridges, in our parks, and on our sewer grates. Of his past life on the street Jim said, "It was hell for me. I was down to 130 lbs. when I got out of the hospital. I remember sitting in Allan Gardens, crying. Someone found me and took me to a shelter." Never mind why he was in the hospital, or why he was released with no fixed address; it is sufficient to say that, to a man, the photographers do not care for shelters. Jim said, "In the shelter I was beaten and robbed so I slept outside wherever I could find a place where I wouldn't get chased off by security." His life has been steady ever since he got a roof over his head. He recently took his grandson for a stroll past Seaton House. What was that like? "He's 12 years old. His reaction was, `I don't want to go there.'" Smart kid. The photographers spoke with distaste of the bugs and the snoring and the lack of privacy in the shelters. And Kevin said, "At Seaton House, I was getting up for work at 6 a.m. The toilets, oh." He means they were unpleasant at that hour. "And then taking four buses to get to work." Yes, he went to work. Not all homeless people are unemployed. Kevin said, "I know a guy who sleeps in Victoria Park. He has a job at the Ontario Food Terminal unloading trucks. He's saving for his first and last months' rent." As we walked south on Sherbourne Jean-Guy said, "I was homeless for about ten years. Now I'm in subsidized housing. I have two rooms, a kitchen, and a shared bath. I've taken pictures of earplugs." What do earplugs have to do with the homeless photo project? It is hard to sleep when you are under-housed; earplugs afford at least a semblance of privacy. The men stopped and took photos just outside the Salvation Army's Maxwell Meighen Centre. They noticed a man sitting on the sidewalk; his boots and his laundry were hung neatly from some gas pipes, and the rest of his possessions were spread out in front of him. Ron said, sotto voce, "I won't take a picture. I didn't bring a consent form." That did not prevent a conversation. The man on the sidewalk said he had Hep-C, and was in town from Ottawa for an operation. He needs a skin graft to cover an open wound on his neck. He said he was in constant pain. He is sleeping on the street because he doesn't know anyone in Toronto and has no money and he, too, does not care for shelters. And if this isn't a failure of the health care system, and a failure of all the helping professions from here to the nation's capital ... We moved on after a time, and the men took photos of a fellow sleeping under the big guns on the lawn of the Moss Park Armoury, and then we noticed a man eating slices of melon from a dumpster behind a Japanese restaurant on Jarvis St. The man was affable enough. He said, "I just got into housing." He was eating from the dumpster because he was broke. He said he has had a problem with drugs. He's trying to clean up, although that may be hard. "The place where I'm staying, I got two dealers on either side of me." He'll have to be strong. But living rough is not for the weak. He said, "I got no furniture yet. I don't like to share my bathroom. I still sleep outside when the weather's good. "I got a job interview coming up. I asked this guy for change the other day. He offered me a job instead. I gotta go see him tomorrow." He'll make the interview, providing that he hasn't picked up food poisoning and providing that he doesn't fall in with his next-door neighbours between now and then. "Asleep in Toronto" will be on display this fall. I'll keep you posted.

Joe Fiorito usually appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Email: jfiorito@thestar.ca

I took this photo that day, of a man sleeping "Under the Gun"

Toronto Star Aug 01, 2007 04:30 AM

Joe Fiorito

Asleep in Toronto
Nancy Halifax mustered her provisional army of photographers and prepared to hit the streets. Bottles of water? Check. Sunblock? Check. Cameras? One or two disposables and a digital SLR. Check, check, check.
The photographers are men and women who have, at one time or another, been homeless. They are working on a project called "Asleep in Toronto." They are taking pictures of places where they have slept, places where they might have liked to sleep, and places where others are sleeping now.
You'd think it would be easy.
Not entirely.
Nancy said, "We're having trouble getting into some of the shelters. We've written letters and made phone calls." No response; no idea why.
But she has heard that some shelters are cherry-picking – that is, taking only the most stable men and women, and leaving those with the most serious problems to fend for themselves outdoors.
The photographers have also heard the rumour. It is impossible to confirm, except anecdotally.
The photographers – they are the paparazzi of la vita dura – gathered their gear, piled into a couple of vans, and headed for the bridge of sighs that crosses Bloor at Sherbourne.
And as we drove, the photographers talked of places they know where the homeless sleep.
James said, "There are a couple of squats down by the lake, very well hidden. You know those sewer pipes, corrugated, four feet in diameter? There's two of them in the middle of nowhere, tarps all around, a couple of chairs, mattresses inside, a barbecue, pots and pans."
Sounds almost cozy.
As for James, he has it fairly good at the moment. He lives in a trailer near the shore. "I have propane and all that. The guy who owns the property knows I'm there. I sort of take care of things. He has a lot of copper. I was there all winter. I was getting to be a hermit."
Ron, who used to kip in a squat near Fort York, nodded in agreement when he heard the word "hermit." He said, "I'd be in my squat for five or six days until my food ran out. I'd drink the vinegar out of my pickle jar rather than go out. It's partly because I knew, if I left, I'd find crack. And it's partly because I'd cocoon."
What the men mean is that, if you do not force yourself to go out into the world, it gets harder and harder to go out, and the world collapses in on you.
After a time, we found a spot to park and headed along Bloor St., walking toward the bridge, easing past the bushes, nosing around the hidden trails and snapping pix along the way.
And then we clambered under the bridge and entered the ravine. The dry bank was steep. Old knees are not supple. City shoes are slippery.
The ground was littered with debris. Ron noticed a razor blade. He scuffed it with the tip of his shoe. I raised an eyebrow. He said, "You use the blade to take the residue out of the crack pipe to smoke it again." Jim said, "Here's an old needle." Ron snapped a photo.
Across the Rosedale Valley Road, we noticed a man sitting under the northern foot of the bridge. He had a backpack by his side; alone, and clearly homeless.
I don't know what that man thought as he sat there in the shade but this is what he saw: half a dozen strangers, armed with dangling cameras, trying to look discreet, acting as if what we were doing was the most ordinary thing in the world.
The man seemed wary.
 The Gateway is one of the best dhelters in Toronto. It's run by the Salvation Army

A snapshot of a life left behind

The Toronto Star

Aug 03, 2007 04:30 AM

Joe Fiorito

The photographers hiked up the dry bank under the belly of the bridge. They were heading toward a man who sat by himself in the shade of the early afternoon. The photographers were cautious in their climbing because they outnumbered the man and they knew their intentions were not plain from his point of view, and they did not want to spook him.

The photographers have, for the past few months, been walking around the city taking pictures of the places where they have slept when they were homeless, and the places in which they might have liked to sleep, and the places where the homeless continue to make their beds. Their project is called "Asleep in Toronto."

The man watched warily.

The cameras dangled around the necks of the photographers and they slipped and climbed, trying to look nonchalant. They could see the man was getting edgy as they neared, so they called up to reassure him. "How's it going?"

As if that were normal.

He did not reply.

Also normal.

One of the photographers, James, said as he came within earshot of the man, "We're doing a photo essay. We've all been homeless. We want to use the pictures to work for policy change, for housing."

The man nodded. That was all right by him. He was young and neatly dressed. He was also plainly homeless. He stood and shrugged into his backpack and he said, "I gotta get something to eat. I'm hungry."

There followed a conversation.

"Where do you usually stay?"

"I usually go to a shelter."

"You want a couple of bucks?"

"I hate to ask for money."

Nancy Halifax, who is the leader of the photography project, slipped the man some folding money.

The man said, "I'm getting my own place." That may be so. He said, "I don't like shelters." Not many people do. He said, "There's men there with all kinds of personal problems." Men who moan in the darkness, men who snore, men who smell, men who are drunk, and men who have forgotten to take their meds. The man under the bridge said he works at the racetrack when he can.

"Take `er easy," said the photographers.

"Try to," said the man.

And he walked off to get a bit to eat with Nancy's money. It was easy to see that people had been sleeping under the bridge: There were shoes here and there, and hats and a tennis racquet. And there was a book, Alcoholics Anonymous.

There was a Seaton House day pass dated 04/06/07. There were pop bottles and blankets and rain-swollen books. There was, curiously, a thick rope tied around a rock. None of the photographers could guess what it might have been used for.

James kicked at something in the bushes and said, "Someone's been doing whip-its."

I said, "Huh?"

James picked up an empty aerosol can that once held synthetic whipped cream. He explained how to use the aerosol can to get high. I decline to repeat the explanation. Not a good high, the whip-it.

You could hear the cars whipping by overhead and you could see them whipping by below on the ravine road. You could feel the heat of the day. One of the photographers said, quietly, "If you don't have schooling ... man, that's what they tried to tell me."

Nancy said, "We'll be finished by the middle of August. We'll edit our pictures and have some more meetings and in September we'll have a giant picture-looking meeting." And they will tell us.

And I will tell you.

Joe Fiorito usually appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Email: jfiorito@thestar.ca

Working to buy something to ease the pain.
Highway shanty knocked down
Toronto Star August 24, 2006 Page: A12Section:NewsEdition:METLength:498

City bulldozes shack by Gardiner Man lived there for several years.

Byline/Source: By Christopher Maughan Toronto Star

Photo Caption: TORY ZIMMERMAN TORONTO STAR Ron Craven, a friend of Chris "Gardiner," was among those who objected to the removal of Chris' shack beneath the downtown highway.

He was so at home he named himself after the place. But after eight years living there, a homeless man who became known as Chris "Gardiner" has been evicted from his
makeshift house underneath
Toronto's downtown highway. City officials and Toronto police arrived at around 7 a.m. yesterday to try to persuade Chris, 44, and five other residents
to agree to move into social housing. An hour and a half later, police dragged all of them from the home, taking him and three others into custody. Then the bulldozers went to work, trashing the walls of his
small, three-room shack. About 30 people showed up to protest the eviction. Many knew
Chris personally and wondered why he was being targeted now,
given that he had lived there peaceably for so many years.
"He's an easygoing, gentle person," said Ron Craven, an elderly man who lived with Chris while he was still on the streets. "There's no criminality in him at all."
Shawn Simpson, who was evicted yesterday morning but not taken
into custody, said he thought he knew why the shack was torn
down. "See behind there, the condos being built? Nobody in there
wants to look at this," he said over the roar of nearby dump
trucks.
Still, it's hard to see how people would have even noticed
it, tucked underneath the on-ramp, inside a chain-link fence
around an old hydro transformer. Chris had put up sticks on the
fence to screen off his shack. Inside, he had a propane-stove, a TV and light running off
batteries, even a sink. It took him almost two years to scrounge up boards, nails, and
scrap metal to build the place, after police tore down an earlier shack. Simpson said he'll remember Chris' shack as a welcome spot. "He would cook Christmas dinner for all the homeless people who get a little depressed that time of year. But no matter what I say, people won't understand, they'll just judge us."
But Iain De Jong, an outreach worker with the city's Streets to Homes project, insisted he had Chris' and his roommates' best interests at heart. "My message is pretty clear: we're there to provide services and we're there to provide help." He said the eviction is due to refurbishment being done on the underside of the highway. Since it began a year and a half ago, the Streets to Homes project has successfully gotten 730 people into social housing, De Jong said.

The days just slide by.

Toronto Star article about me

Peer into a looking glass to see a portrait of city streets

Joe Fiorito

Tell me what you see and I will tell you who you are. Ron Craven sees the men and women of this city holding on, hanging out, getting stoned, sleeping rough. He knows the turf. He was on the street for 10 years. But now he has a place to stay, and he also has a camera. What he sees, and what he shoots, are photos of the people living where he used to live. There is, at the moment, a show of his work in the lobby of the Sherbourne Health Centre. We met there the other day. He gave me a tour.

Of a photo of the urban gadfly Kevin Clark, wearing a scarf or towel as a headdress and looking like a smiling tribesman at some oasis of the mind, Ron said, "This was at a sleep-in at City Hall. Kevin came in through the wading pool." That's our Kevin.

Of a handsome brooding native man he said, "This is Kenny. I have photos of him and his friend John on my website. From the age of 12 or 13, they were bouncing between foster homes and correctional centres until they got away completely. They are heavy drinkers but good guys."

Of a photo of a man in a park with a dog he said, "I knew Jerry 10 years ago. I lost track of him. I didn't recognize him when I took this."

The portraits and the cityscapes are deft and bright and they show a side of the city we rarely stop to look at, perhaps because we are, all of us, only a step or two away.

Ron said, "I was on the street for 10 years. I've been off for almost three." His trajectory?

"I had money. I owned two real estate offices. And then I met a girl and she introduced me to crack. I was an instant addict. I was spending $1,000 a day, and not attending to business. It took me about 10 years to move from my nice apartment to a less nice apartment to a rooming house to the street."

He tried plenty of times to quit crack. It took him a long time to figure out that liquor was his trigger. "I'd go several days without crack, then I'd drink and I'd be right back where I started. I had to quit drinking to quit crack. Now? I never get a craving for crack. I get a craving for a drink."

How did he finally quit?

"I weighed 100 pounds. I was certain I was going to die. It was March 2, 2005. I had a rented room. I'd been there two months. I was two days late with the rent. The landlady broke my lock and threw everything out. I had to leave it all there; nowhere to take it. I called an outreach worker and said, `Get me into detox.'" That was the start.

And the camera?

"When you quit drugs, you have to leave your old life behind. I realized that boredom is one of the biggest problems. My way of keeping busy? I started taking courses. Continuing education – if you were on social assistance you could take a nine-week course for 10 bucks."

He took all kinds of courses, including digital photography. "As soon as I put my eye to the viewfinder, I knew I'd found a home."

He sells a photo now and then but he gets by on disability. He said, "I don't need much. I buy a coffee once a month. I don't buy new clothes. I do my own cooking. If I have gloves, it's because I found them."

Gloves are not the only things he's found.

You can view Ron Craven's portfolio by clicking here.

Joe Fiorito usually appears Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Email: jfiorito@thestar.ca

Juan is plagued with multiple medical problems, but he remains positive

Back on the streets, but with new eyes

The Toronto Star

Oct 22, 2008 04:30 AM

Joe Fiorito
Ron Craven travels with a camera, taking pictures of the bright and brittle glories of the city; he also shoots the cold hard places where the homeless sleep.

He knows whereof he shoots. He lived on the streets for years. He cleaned up a while ago, and he got the camera and learned to use it while he was recovering his health. One thing leads to another.

Ron has just been invited to Ecuador, where he plans to document life in an orphanage for children rescued from a garbage dump. He will auction some of his city photos this weekend to raise money for the trip.

I dropped by the other day as he was printing his most recent work. He lives downtown in community housing. His place is small and his walls are covered with portraits of his street friends; there are portfolios everywhere, and in his computer is a library of some 200,000 photos.

He said, "I have this new technique. I'm printing on canvas, then I use paint to highlight certain parts of the photos." I said one thing leads to another.

Ron said, "I had called a friend at the Sherbourne Health Centre to set up a show. I wanted people to see this new work. I brought my portfolio along and I got talking to a fellow who told me about a friend of his in Ecuador who had started an orphanage for dump children." Ron, who had been thinking about taking a cheap trip to Mexico to photograph some ruins, was persuaded to change his idea on the spot.

"The dump kids; in terms of homelessness, they have to be the most desperate of all."

He was invited to travel and he plans to document the work of the orphanage and the kids who live there. The people who run the orphanage will use Ron's work to raise money. Ron will post his photos, and his video footage, on his website.

Years ago, Ron was in real estate. He bought and sold houses the way some of us buy and sell books. He was a millionaire when he found crack; first he found a little, then he found a lot. There was never enough.

The man who made a living buying and selling houses soon found that he had no place to live; he was on the street for years. How did he get clean?

"I was down to 90 pounds. I knew I wouldn't make it through another winter. I called an outreach worker."

Like I said ...

When I saw him the other day, Ron was working on a photo of some workers building a condo; his printer ate a length of canvas bit by bit and spat out a vivid image of what soon will be another place to live.

Ron yawned and said, "When I was homeless I think I forgot how to sleep. When I first moved in here, I never slept more than an hour at a time." He's got that up to a few hours at a time now.

He has just applied for a passport; the last time he had one of those was when he was rich. Does he miss money? "My needs are minimal. I don't do anything outside of my art. I don't buy coffee, I make it here ... I don't worry about money. I've always been able to get what I need."

One thing leads to another.

You can see Ron's latest work this Saturday at the Sherbourne Health Centre, 333 Sherbourne St., between Carlton and Gerrard. The show runs from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and the auction is from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

View Ron Craven's work at these sites:

ronzigsportfolio.synthasite.com

downbutnotout.synthasite.com

Saw his photos on Flickr

Ron's portfolio is lovely. Check out his photos on Flickr - great stuff.

Posted By whatfun at 9:58 AM Wednesday, October 22 2008

Agree 1

Back on the streets, but with new eyes How very true

Once I began using a camera I really began to SEE. I see things for the first time that I have walked past thousands of times. I show my work so others will see what I see. Thanks Joe. See you at the show. Ron. Craven (Ronzig)

Posted By Ronzig at 8:32 AM Wednesday, October 22 2008

 

An amazing glimpse of one person's life

Thanks for that. Good on you, Ron.

Posted By MarySunshine at 8:12 AM Wednesday, October 22 2008

 

 I like to preserve good graffiti when I see it. this would make a good poster for an anti drug campaign.

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Index of Ronzig's web pages

Website:

Down But Not Out

As well as Ronzig's Gallery, Ronzig built and maintains Down But Not Out, a website dedicated to social activism and providing information about many of the current issues that threaten to destroy our planet and the social structures we have developed. This link will take you to the Home page of Down But Not Out which was recently ranked as the 12th best website about homelessness on the internet and the following information will explain each of the pages on the website. You will have the opportunity to comment on what you learn here and read the many comments of other visitors to the site.

Learn more about Ronzig and why he created Down But Not Out and why it began as a website discussing the issues of poverty, homelessness and addiction and how it evolved into much more, encompassing issues a wide ranging as politics, war imperialism, conspiracy, economics, health, the environment and more.

Having been a crack addict for nearly 2 decades, during the 2nd of which I was homeless, I have acquired an in depth understanding of addiction, how & why it begins, what it does to a person, what is involved with getting free of this curse and the social implications of this ever increasing plague on civilization. I disclose some little known and often ignored information and insights that will assist you in coming to a better understanding of what addiction is all about.

I have created a page where visitors to Down But Not Out can contribute by telling their story about how the issues discussed on the site has affected them or someone they care about. I encourage you to read what others have to say and please tell us your story. You can remain anonymous if you prefer.

There is an extensive examination of the economy on Down But Not Out with discussions about the recession, economic collapse, the increasing disparity between the rich, the poor and the middle class. I delve into the phenomena of the shrinking middle class and the emergence of a 2 class society where an economic elite rule and the rest of us are rapidly being relegated to economic slavery.

Whether you call it Global Warning, Climate Disruption or choose to adopt one of the euphemisms that opponents to addressing this impending disaster use to seek to reduce the significance of the crisis to protect their ill gotten financial profits, it is a scientific fact that our global environment is on the brink of collapse. If meaningful and immediate action is not taken the human race along with almost all other forms of life on the Planet Earth will soon face extinction.

Whenever I have time I try to post notices of significant events that you may wish to attend including rally's, protests, political meetings, or other relevant items here. I also use this page to post notices of upcoming art shows where my work will be on display.

The social, economic and political issues revolving around health and healthcare are currently creating an environment where universal healthcare in Canada is under attack. It is evident that the elite no longer wish to ensure adequate health services for an aging population. They see no need to preserve individual health when there is no shortage of replacement economic slaves to step in when one of us succumbs to preventable illness and dies.

There is a worldwide epidemic of homelessness that has emerged in the past couple of decades to plague society and the wealthiest nations, ones with more than sufficient resources to provide housing for their populations are the worst at addressing the situation. Having lived long enough to realize that even when our society was steeped in relative poverty compared to today's situation, homelessness was never a significant problem until recently as the elite grab more and more of the world's wealth and resources, leaving the rest of us to struggle just to keep a roof over our heads.

With the advent of the internet, hope for a just society has been restored, yet there are sinister powers threatening to crush that hope. Just when internet should be reaching the point of universal global access, these powers are forcing an increasing internet divide, where surprisingly millions who once could afford access are being economically deprived of this crucial commodity, for a commodity is what it has become and it is for sale at price not reflective of costs, but of what the market will bear. Perhaps we should be considering defining internet as a Necessary Service that is available to everyone at affordable rates of free of charge.

With the corporatization of mainstream media, it's difficult to find any honest reporting in this media, as they tend to stick like flies on flypaper to the elitist party line. However even the most cynical of these outlets of information are forced to include a modicum of honesty in their reports when faced with the vast amount of conflicting evidence distributed freely on the internet. It is beneficial also to be up to date on what they are saying in order to point out the inadequacies and outright lies that they distribute.

Over the years, Ronzig has been in the news on several occasions, both as the subject of articles and as interviewee. Of course I've commented on many news items as well. you'll find some of these pieces on my news page.

There is a disturbing trend in politics that is increasingly threatening the very fabric of Democracy, or the sorry excuse for such that we have  adopted. I'm speaking of the merging of the Capitalist manifesto into the political agenda to the effect that today's politicians see their job almost exclusively as serving the requirements of capitalism and corporate profits rather than the needs of the citizens who are the true backbone of any nation.

Ever wonder how it is possible that in the richest civilization that has ever existed on the planet, extreme poverty is reaching epidemic proportions?  The answer is obvious. Every single year for the past 3 decades the wealthiest 5% of the world's population have taken control and ownership of a greater proportion of the world's resources leaving less for each of the remaining 95% of the people who have to live on this planet. In every industrialized nation the middle class is under attack and is shrinking annually as people are forced down the economic scale into the burgeoning poverty class. The truly terrifying aspect of this is the fact that the members of the middle class which is the primary target of this attack believe that when the middle class is eliminated they will be part of the elite upper class of rulers rather than economic slaves of these rulers. Because of this the middle class votes consistently for politicians who serve this elite ruling class and don't even realize they are voting for their own destruction.

In a society which professes to be primarily Christian is it not a paradox that we have created such an un-Christian attitude toward our neighbours? By assuming the philosophy of "Looking our for number ONE", we find it easy not only to allow our brothers and sisters to suffer and actually perish because they can not afford to pay for the basic requirements of survival, nourishment and shelter, but many of us are arrogant enough to hate them for their predicament. How are we to overcome this tide of apathy and animosity which in the end will destroy us if we fail?

If you group is interested in Ronzig's experiences and philosophies, I do speaking engagements and will talk on any of the topics covered here. I have had great success with audiences while speaking about homelessness & addiction, Democracy & politics as well as photography & art and would be pleased to accept a request to speak to you group.

Primarily because of American Imperialism the world has been in a constant state of war for the majority of the past 6 decades. Isn't it amazing how we can call making war on another nation a Police Action or Peacekeeping Action to camouflage the fact that we are invading a nation to seize control of its resources or to use it as a staging zone for our aggressive moves on its neighbours, yet we call defensive retaliation Terrorism? We call the slaughter of innocent civilians Collateral Damage to hide the fact that more than 80% of the people we kill in our wars are civilians primarily women and children. I find it disturbing that Prime Minister Harper has eagerly jumped into bed with the Americans and is arming Canada to fight along side our neighbours to the South as we seek to seize control of far off nations. We stand idly by and allow Israel, the puppet state of the Americans which exists solely because of American arms and financing to commit wide scale genocide in its attempt to eradicate the legitimate population of the region from the planet.

Website:

Go to Ronzig's Gallery digital photoArt, photography,  video, photographic & video recording services, Mini Video Tours of Toronto, Collector Series Postcards featuring an assortment of his best images and art on ceramic tiles top home page.

Learn about Ronzig and Ronzig's Gallery: What is digital photoArt? Ronzig's guerrilla photography and video. Art on Ceramic Tiles. Collector Series Postcards featuring an assortment of his best images, Mini Video Tours of Toronto. And photographic and video recording services.

View some of Ronzig's best work in a slideshow or individual images from Ronzig at Ronzig's Gallery of digital photoArt and photography.

You can contact  Ronzig's Gallery by email, telephone or by snail mail to his address to inquire about Ronzig's digital photoArt, photography, Collector Series Postcards featuring an assortment of his best images. video, photography & video recording services, Mini Video Tours of Toronto and art on ceramic tiles or to purchase his products or services. You will also find numerous links to other websites where Ronzig has a presence.

Read the Legend of Ronzig the Wizard and his battle with his evil twin brother Ronzak the Sorcerer in the story of the ongoing struggle between good and evil that has been going on since the creation of the universe.

This is where you can order  Ronzig's products and services from Ronzig's Gallery such as digital photoArt,  photography & video recording services, Mini Video Tours of Toronto, art on ceramic tiles & Collector Series Postcards featuring an assortment of his best images.

Ronzig creates spectacular panorama works either as photographic images or as Digital photoArt that are available in standard sizes up to 44" x 13" on either canvas or archival quality photo paper (larger sizes available by special order).  Ronzig's Gallery will also embed a panorama image into the glaze of a series of ceramic tiles to create a unique wall or floor covering surface to your specs.

Ronzig's Digital photoArt & photographic images from Ronzig's Gallery cover a broad array of subject matter and themes resulting in highest quality art works to suit any preference. These images are all available on ceramic tiles & Collector Series Postcards as well a more traditional canvas and archival photo paper in a wide range of sizes to suit your requirements.

All of Ronzig's best work is available on Collector Series Postcards on archival photo paper, suitable not only for mailing a unique greeting to friends and loved ones, but also for framing as a group to hang on your wall.

Ronzig has done work for a wide range of clients from law firms to developers, health services facilities and the City of Toronto, all of which would certainly provide excellent references to Ronzig's Gallery.

Most of Ronzig's best work, be it video, photography or Digital photoArt is available as stock video clips or stock photo & art images at extremely reasonable prices for royalty free applications that you are producing.

Most of Ronzig's best work can be embedded into the glaze of ceramic tiles, resulting in virtually indestructible art works suitable for architectural uses such as surfaces for walls, floors, counter tops, back-splashes, fireplace surrounds or mantlepieces. As home furnishing uses they provide unique surfaces for tables or any other flat surfaced furniture. There is a series of 4" x 4" tiles with a protective backing designed for use as coasters that are bound to intrigue your guests as you entertain. Of course they make timeless stand alone art suitable for framing or placing on a stand for display.

Ronzig produces a wide range of videos, including Documentary works, event recording such as children's birthdays, activism and social protest works, art films, Mini Video Tours and special effects clips. Ronzig's Gallery is fully equipped and has access to support professionals to create original works with multi-camera filming, still photography and custom music for any production. He is presently working on a special fx movie, The Legend of Ronzig the Wizard, for which he the writer, art and costume designer, producer director and star.

 

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