Graffiti on the downtown eastside saves lives. For a community disconnected from other sources of news and media, graffiti is regularly used to communicate vital information about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic…
… as well as the overdose epidemic. Often times graffiti alerts people to the quality of the drugs going around the neighborhood that week, often accompanied with messages to not use alone, and to carry Narcan.
The murals are also often used as a form of mourning for specific loved ones as well as the community broadly speaking. Publicizing the impacts of the overdose epidemic serves as an important reminder to the general public of the ongoing epidemic, and reminds people that the homeless and street-involved community are not to be ignored.
Lastly, the murals can be used to advocate for the rights of homeless folks, and drum up political and social motivation surrounding these issues.
After all – is there any more humane quality than creating art from pain?