We amplify marginalized voices and create meaningful work for those experiencing poverty

We amplify marginalized voices and create meaningful work for those experiencing poverty

This image has an empty alt attribute, its filename is Paul-Taylor_December2023.jpg
Back to Newsroom

A Voice for the Community for Four Decades

The founder of the Carnegie Newsletter was an activist for social justice long before it became commonplace, publishing poetry, fiction, news stories and cartoons by people on the margins for nearly 40 years

Jathinder Sandhu

This image has an empty alt attribute, its filename is Paul-Taylor_December2023.jpg

Paul Taylor has dedicated his life to the Downtown Eastside by producing and editing the twice-monthly Carnegie Newsletter. It is a free publication which chronicles the lives of drug users, artists, poets and activists.

Taylor has dutifully kept The Carnegie going for almost 40 years, with very little time off. He publishes poetry, flash fiction, articles, drawings and cartoons in the paper, and was amongst the first to raise awareness about missing women in the Downtown Eastside neighbourhood during the 1990s. And he does all this on a volunteer basis.

“I came to Vancouver in early 1982. I was ill, both physically and mentally.

The physical illness was the result of starvation, malnutrition, poison, dysentery…coupled with extended travel and having no income. Vancouver became my destination. I needed to get a passport and raise money to leave again. I planned to be here for a month.”

Taylor was an activist for social justice when it wasn’t fashionable. He has a heart for the homeless and disenfranchised, and really makes an effort to provide a platform for the marginalized. Although he didn’t expect it, he ended up making Vancouver his home.

His first years in the city were colourful. He was on medical welfare and stood in food lines. At 44 Cordova, one could access food, showers and laundry. At the Dugout, one could get morning coffee. He began volunteering in the pool room and as a cashier at the Carnegie Community Centre, which has aptly become known as the living room of the Downtown Eastside.

“Volunteering helped fill the days while what I was waiting for got murkier. The groups and organizations set up to fight for better conditions in housing, welfare rates and other social issues mirrored what I was experiencing,” Taylor said.

At that time, a fellow named Al Mettrick proposed the idea to start a newsletter and Taylor offered to help with his typing and writing skills. Taylor became editor in 1986 and, with rare exceptions, the Carnegie newsletter has come out twice a month ever since.

“Sometimes the newsletter feels like a bad habit, but that’s part of my mental illness. Clinical depression doesn’t just go away, so keeping busy and feeling like it matters helps,” Taylor says of producing the Carnegie.

Taylor has witnessed the changes in the Downtown Eastside over the almost 40 years he has been there and he says they have been huge. Through it all the newsletter has been a consistent hub for information and learning about the struggles of people living in the neighbourhood.

Taylor has served on many boards and continues to fill positions on several, such as the boards of directors at End Legislated Poverty, The Tenants Rights Action Committee, The Carnegie Community Centre Association, the Downtown Eastside Residents Association and the Four Sisters Housing Cooperative.

Taylor has become a voice for the voiceless. He has provided a platform for many groups working on important issues, including the dangers inherent in sex-trade work, drug use and addiction, homelessness, and the racism/ colonialism faced by Black and Indigenous People of Colour — to name a few. His discipline and tenacity are self-evident.

“What needs to happen in Vancouver is for community organizations to proliferate throughout the city, not be concentrated here,” Taylor believes. “If there was tenants rights’ work going on city-wide, housing initiatives appropriate for people who were already here, community would grow as it would be more than just a place to live.”

Shedding a light on poverty with alternate sources of news helps underscore the plight of those living in poverty. Taylor is an example for all to follow.

FEATURE PHOTO: Paul Taylor in his office at the Carnegie Community Centre. Photo by Mike McNeeley / The Shift.

Stories of change are best when shared

From social media to texting to email, consider sharing links to the Megaphone stories that move you—so that we can all move forward.

Jathinder Sandhu

Jathinder Sandhu


Jathinder Sandhu is a Surrey resident and a published poet, writer and member of The Shift peer newsroom. She won writing contests in high school, studied poetry post-secondary and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in communications. Jathinder also plays bass guitar.

What Sets our Newsroom Apart

Rooted in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, we're committed to amplifying voices that are overlooked by mainstream media. We’re actively growing our team of storytellers and journalists to serve our community.

More about our Peer Newsroom

“Why "The Shift?" So the framework of Megaphone magazine can “shift” to being a more inclusive street paper, empowering those with lived and living experience to tell the stories that matter the most to them and their communities.”

Paula Carlson Editorial and Program Director

Sign up for community news you can't get anywhere else


Support our work to change the story on poverty

Your donation directly amplifies marginalized voices and creates meaningful work opportunities for our vendors and storytellers.

Donate today