Boldly tackling racism through lived experiences and resistance at Langara College on March 21

Indira Prahst

THE International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which is observed to collectively work towards the elimination of all forms of racism and inequalities, will be observed on March 21 at the 15th annual “Stop Racism” event organized by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Langara College and Asian Pulse TV. The event will open with an Aboriginal greeting, a drum ceremony and an opening prayer from well-respected Rosie White Elk, First Nations elder, medicine woman working in the Downtown East Side conveying stories about colonial histories. Topics covered will include racism in Canada, challenges faced in current geopolitical climates, working towards solutions and personal narratives. The event will be moderated by Langara’s Indira Prahst from the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and Kamilla Singh, Director and Producer of Asian Pulse TV and the Kamilla Singh Show and sponsored by philanthropist Perminder Chohan, Managing Director of DFSIN.

The first key note speaker is Minnijean Brown-Trickey, world renowned civil rights activist and congressional gold medalist recipient. She is a political figure known as”Little Rock Nine.” On September 25, 1957, facing 1,200 armed soldiers, “a worldwide audience, and a mob, Brown-Trickey helped to desegregate Central High”. A documentary film about her titled: Little Rock: The Untold Story of Minnijean Brown Trickey (2002) was produced. Her voice is a rare treat. She says: “I look at these events as teaching and learning for me and am excited to be a part of this in Vancouver”.

The second key note speaker is RCMP Inspector Baltej Singh Dhillon. His story made Canadian history when in 1991 he became the first member of the RCMP permitted to wear a turban as part of his Sikh religion. He will share the trajectory of his story. The panelists include Deputy Chief of Vancouver Police, Steve Singh, the first South Asian officer to be appointed Vancouver Police Deputy Chief; Shenan Charania, transformative leadership and performance coach for youth, who will be speaking about his experiences of racism and educate the youth in particular in dealing with it from within; and Sukhmeet Singh Sachal, Founder of “Break the Divide,” international network of students that connect to create change. Poetry slam artist Jenifer Williams will treat the audience with some of her top anti-racist slam poems.

Ten $100 certificates will be given out in a draw for any student at the event towards books.

Lastly, three awards of recognition towards anti-racism work will be handed out. The recipients are:

– Fatima Jaffer, activist and photojournalist, in recognition of her deep commitment in tackling racism and in preserving history through photography.

– Ray Goldenchild, soccer coach, in recognition of his deep commitment in inspiring youth through outstanding coaching and tackling personal and institutional racism in sport.

– Jenifer Williams, Langara student and poetry slam artist, in recognition of her commitment to tackling racism through creative slam poetry.

This event is free and will be hosted at Langara College from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in A130 A theatre. Light refreshments will be served before the event at 6:15 p.m.  For information, call Indira Prahst at 778-865-3305 or Kamilla Singh at 604-537-5123.