On March 23rd, MOSAIC led the Surrey Organizing Against Racism and Hate (OARH) forum with participation from community stakeholders and partners, and the general public. The 60 people who turned out at Surrey City Hall enjoyed an inspiring and passionate address from keynote speaker Inspector Baltej Dhillon, who lobbied for, and eventually won the right to wear a turban as part of his official RCMP uniform in 1991. A panel made up of members from diverse community groups – partners of the Surrey OARH – also shared their experiences and thoughts about racism and discrimination.
Surrey OARH Network is chaired by Ninu Kang, MOSAIC’s Director of Communications and Development, and seeks to facilitate dialogue to establish best practices, raise public awareness about racism and hate activities, and develop response strategies to address these incidents in Surrey. A research project from 2016 resulted in more than half of respondents claiming to have experienced some form of racism or discrimination while 80% claimed to have witnessed incidences of it.
After the forum, Kang commented “I’m pleased with the turnout and the engagement from the participants at our very first forum. The fact that we had so many community leaders attending, as well as Labor Minister Harry Bains, demonstrates the seriousness of the issues that the Surrey OARH Network is tackling and that leaders and stakeholders are prepared to help find solutions.”
OARH is a provincial initiative which currently has 33 chapters across BC. The OARH Network aims to develop protocols which will assist communities to collaboratively respond to racism and hate activities.
CBC and OMNI Television covered the event; click below for more information: