Making diversity an election issue
When people write or stop me on the street to share issues regarding diversity in our community, they're not telling me anything new that I haven't already discussed. I can distinguish the haters from the people who have genuine concerns.
Like I've said in the past, we all can do better and we all have the responsibility to be welcoming to one another regardless to our ethnicity.
I have to ask the people who constantly complain and take shots at those in the community trying to make a difference regarding diversity, what are you doing to make a difference?
We are currently in election season and I have not yet heard any of the local candidates addressing issues regarding intercultural barriers. This issue is as equally important as the taxation and P3 water discussions.
I read one candidate's profile in Mission say that we need diverse leadership on council to reflect our diversity. Fair enough. We want to promote cultural diversity, but at the same time we need to also understand that there is a growing separation.
There's nothing wrong with candidates addressing these issues - actually it's imperative. However, the term "diversity" should not be hijacked to suit one's political aspirations in running for council.
Cultural diversity needs leadership if we're going to continue to promote this as an important symbol. I encourage candidates in the following weeks ahead, to familiarize themselves with some of the issues on intercultural barriers.
In order to see progress, we need to be real and honest in our intentions. If we don't address these issues now or in decades to come, we're going to encounter distinctive barriers.
This is a perfect opportunity for all candidates, including South Asians running for public office this November, to bring this issue to the forefront.
I hear several comments being made that the reason diversity isn't working is due to the fact that the South Asian community are segregating themselves.
There is some truth to this and I have addressed this point from time to time.
But it also goes further than this. It's a multidimensional issue and there are many factors that co-exist with one another. It's not just one specific ethnic community's responsibility.
What I've learned is the success and longevity of cultural diversity depends on the strengths of our partnerships. An example of this took place recently when a working accord was signed between the Fraser Valley Indo Canadian Business Association and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce.
Also, this week I received an invitation to a local fundraising event hosted by The Center for Epilepsy & Seizure Education. It will take place at The Rancho on Nov. 5. Organizer Flo Dohms expressed that she would like to see more representation of our diversity at the event.
The proceeds from the Mardi Gras celebration dinner and dance event will be used to send children to camp, support and education, along with the distribution of a children's book about epilepsy. For more info, call 1-866-Seizure.
- Ken Herar is a freelance columnist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.