Vernon councillor Dalvir Nahal earns the B.C. Multicultural and Anti-Racism Award. (Stock photo)

Vernon councillor wins award for efforts to end racism

Vernon city councillor Dalvir Nahal received the award for her work to increase awareness of the Sikh culture and history, by breaking down cultural barriers in the Okanagan to fight racism.

A Vernon councillor is being honoured for her work to end acts of racism and promote cultural inclusion.

The British Columbia Multiculturalism and Anti-racism awards acknowledge individuals, organizations, businesses and youth whose exemplary work is advancing cultural inclusion and efforts to end acts of racism. Vernon city councillor Dalvir Nahal, along with five other British Columbians, received the award as part of the Individual Over 30 category for her work in the community.

Nahal, founder of the Bollywood Bang, is dedicated to increasing awareness of the Sikh culture and history, by breaking down cultural barriers in the Okanagan to fight racism.

“I am so honoured and humbled to receive this award from Premier Horgan because there’s so many amazing people who are doing amazing work so to be among them is humbling,” said Nahal, who travelled to Vancouver for the ceremony Thursday night.

“With everything that is happening around the world, especially what just happened in New Zealand, I realize how much more work needs to be done in teaching acceptance and understanding. I am so proud to live in Vernon, a community that has embraced our event with open hearts and so much love. It truly is a testament of who we are as a community.”

Related: Vernon Champion focuses on moving community forward

Related: Enderby Anti-racism walk deemed a success by organizer

“Diverse and inclusive communities are strong communities,” said Premier John Horgan. “Congratulations to these remarkable individuals and organizations who are working to end racism and discrimination and make sure every person feels welcome to participate in B.C.’s economy, culture and society. Their actions are helping build a Better B.C. for us all.”

Each award recipient received a trophy presented by Horgan. The ceremony took place on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and featured special performances in recognition of Nowruz, the Persian New Year, and Holi and Hola Mohalla, the Hindu and Sikh celebrations of spring.

“It’s unacceptable that in a province as diverse as B.C. people live with the fear of facing racism or prejudice,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “To the recipients, I applaud each of you for your leadership in fostering inclusiveness, understanding and mutual respect. The work you are doing to fight hatred and promote multiculturalism is making life better for everyone in B.C.”

According to the provincial government, 2017 saw a sharp increase in hate crimes reported nationally, up 47 per cent to 2,073 reported incidents. On Nov. 1, 2018, the federal government introduced legislative amendments to the Human Rights Code that will re-establish a human rights commission for B.C. to “promote and protect human rights for all British Columbians.”

“We’re at a critical moment in history where acts of racism and hatred are increasing, across the world and here at home in B.C.,” said Ravi Kahlon, parliamentary secretary for multiculturalism and sport. “We must stand together against those who seek to divide us and recognize that we each have the power to create a more inclusive society for everyone. The exemplary people recognized by these awards are creating the change that we need for a more just and inclusive society.”

Learn about what the province is doing to promote multiculturalism and address racism in B.C., visit http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/multiculturalism-anti-racism.

Related: Vernon’s Bollywood Bang collects big bucks

Related: Funding announced in Okanagan for anti-racism programs

Related: Kelowna’s Sikhs countering racist acts of vandalism

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