"Peace cannot be kept by force: it can only be achieved by understanding" - Albert Einstein
The 15th annual Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards were held Friday night at the Quality Hotel and Conference Centre in Abbotsford. Since 2003, community members have nominated businesses, programs, initiatives, schools and leaders that work towards building an inclusive community within Abbotsford, Mission, Langley and Chilliwack.
“Every year it gets harder and harder to pick one winner in each category,” said Manpreet Grewal, director of Multicultural & Immigrant Integration Services at Abbotsford Community Services. “It’s great to see how many local organizations are dedicated to consciously working to promote diversity and inclusion.”
A local Mission non-profit, Sara for Women, won one of the seven awards. SARA is a feminist organization working with diverse women for the advancement of women. They recognize the systemic nature of oppression and power imbalances in all their forms including class, white-privilege, language, culture, sexual orientation, age, ability, geography, position and others. Their policy-governance structure incorporates opportunities to share power through democratic practices of shared leadership, decision-making, authority and responsibility.
On a practical level, SARA provides housing for vulnerable women who are in crisis, escaping violence, or who are at great risk of being homeless. Their Warm Zone drop-in centre in Abbotsford provides food, shower facilities, support workers and other services to women on the street. They also provide counselling and support groups for women and children.
Sonia Beeksma, the traffic anchor for CTV Morning Live, was the master of ceremonies, and the sold-out crowd heard from inspirational speaker Talli Osborne. Singer and songwriter Jada Klein and dancer Nadine Langman also performed at the event.
The event is organized by Abbotsford Community Services in partnership with the Mission Community Services, Chilliwack Community Services and New Direction English Language School.
• Inclusive Environment (small-medium organizations) – Chilliwack Crown Counsel Office, Domestic Violence Team (Chilliwack)
• Inclusive Environment (large organizations) – SARA for Women (Mission)
• Marketing – Ten Thousand Villages (Langley)
• Innovative Initiative – Little Heroes Hockey Academy (Chilliwack) & Robert Bateman Secondary – Art Activism Class (Abbotsford)
• Effective Human Resources Strategies – Shoppers Drug Mart #2290, Abbotsford
• Champion of Diversity – Michael Adkins (Abbotsford)
As the temperatures slowly rise and the buds start to peek out, Spring brings feelings of renewal and rebirth. There’s a sense of anticipation and hope as flowers bloom and grow all around us. There is also a sense of anticipation and hope as a plan for revitalization is set for Downtown Mission. Beyond the renewed sidewalks and renovations of the Downtown Core, we also need to rethink our spending habits and ideas. As a business owner in Mission, the decision involves more just the store front and the financial investment. Many business owners bring their children, spouses or parents to live in Mission as well. And as a result, they are also investing in Mission’s education, sports organizations, lifetime learning programs, arts and music development; and are contributing to community welfare. So, the next time you decide to shop or eat locally, know that you’re not only supporting the business, but also the blossoming of the community of Mission.
Inspired by the storytelling of Elder Priscilla Wells, Ecole Mission Secondary School's grade 11 & 12 art students have created telling pieces of art in the spirit of cultural preservation. Below is a sampling of the artwork displayed at the Mission Community Archives. For more stories, visit www.greatspirithand.com
With the beginning of a new year, everyone decides it’s time to purge their old habits and start anew. We all feel the need to get rid of unwanted pounds, clothes or things we deem unnecessary in our lives. This January, as I look back on 2017, what came over me was not the desire to get rid of everything from last year or to forget any hardships encountered; but rather, the need to embrace all these experiences. For out of all these experiences, I am who I am today because of them.
As I step into the new year and into this new role as the Publisher at What’s On! Mission, I also want to embrace the old traditions, stories and people that have made Mission what it is. And at the same time, I’m looking forward to building on them and seeing the new and exciting things happening in our growing Mission.
Wishing everyone a Christmas filled with the magic, joy and wonder of the season. Thank you, Mission for supporting What's On! Mission.
Christmas is a time of family traditions, be it a certain food for dinner; a family activity; or a gift that gets handed down from generation to generation. Ed Williams remembers Christmas dinners surrounded by strangers and neighbours. His mother would open her doors every Christmas and feed anyone who happened to stop by, whether they needed a warm meal, a jacket, or a friendly hug for the holidays. About eight years ago, due to illness, his mother was unable to continue this tradition. So Ed and his wife Cathy have continued to open their doors and hearts every Christmas; their daughter Sherry baking pies for dessert and other family members pitching in to help. Year after year, out of their three bedroom home they would feed up to 100 people, never asking for anything in return. This year, because of Ed's health issues, Pastor Ken opened up Bethel Church and volunteered his congregation to help Ed accommodate almost 400 people to a 2 pm and a 6 pm seating dinner. Looking at the empty plates and happy faces, dinner was a success.
When asked what he plans to do on Christmas Day this year since his annual dinner is done, he smiled sheepishly and didn't respond. My guess is that he will be up at 6 am to throw some turkeys in the oven and will leave his front door open. Ed will still be carrying on his tradition of a warm meal with the fellowship of his community, gifting his neighbours with love and an open and generous heart.
My son and I ventured out to Clarke Theatre this morning to watch the Legion's annual Remembrance Day Parade and Ceremony. Blustery and cold, we huddled together and my son complained that his fingers were frozen. Watching all the veterans, service workers, first responders, scouts and cadets line up in the cold, I told him to imagine that some of these people go out to their jobs and they still have to do it whether their fingers are frozen or not. They are out there whether it is snowing or sweltering hot. They are out there whether they have to see their colleagues fight for their lives or sacrifice their own.
Today, I am thankful to those who have sacrificed their lives and those who continue to risk it. I am remembering those mothers and fathers who have lost their sons and daughters; remembering those children who have lost their parents; remembering those husbands and wives who have sent out their spouses to war in the battlefields or war on the streets so that we could be here today.
When we think of Halloween, the first thing that comes to mind is candy! And as a parent, I'm a little hesitant to let the kids partake in all that sugar, mostly because of the hyperactivity that ensues and the possible dental bills from the cavities.
But this past Halloween, photographing all the cute and scary costumes in downtown Mission, what I saw was a community that believes in providing a safe and fun environment for little children to get dressed up in. I saw families coming out together sharing memories and laughs and candy. I saw a tradition that I used to love as a child running around with my friends and getting candy from my neighbours.
The sweetness of these moments was my candy this Halloween.
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