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Indigenous activist Cecilia Point and former Vancouver Park Board Commissioner Niki Sharma honoured at annual anti racism event in Surrey Featured

Niki Sharma (left) and Cecilia Point (right) were each given antiracism awards at a ceremony on Saturday (March 23) at Surrey City Hall. Niki Sharma (left) and Cecilia Point (right) were each given antiracism awards at a ceremony on Saturday (March 23) at Surrey City Hall.

 

On Saturday, March 23 Spice Radio honoured two inspiring women for standing up against racism as the world grapples with growing bigotry.

As part of its annual campaign "Raise Your Hands Against Racism", Burnaby-based Spice Radio held this year’s event at Surrey City Hall where Indigenous activist Cecilia Point and former Vancouver Park Board Commissioner Niki Sharma were presented with special awards.

Point has been active in grassroots level movements, such as campaign for justice to the missing and murdered indigenous women, while Sharma had challenged racism directed at her with courage and conviction. These women were presented with the shields by anti-racism activist Alan Dutton and Georgia Straight Editor Charlie Smith on behalf of Spice Radio. The two men were the recipients of the last year’s Spice Radio awards.

The event started with a moment of silence for the victims of the Christchurch attacks on mosques that left 50 people dead. Spice Radio CEO Shushma Datt opened the event with a special tribute to those gunned down by a white supremacist in Christchurch, and the three Indian revolutionaries Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru who were executed on March 23, 1931 for waging war against British occupation of India. Later, Vishaljeet Kaur sang a song dedicated to the three martyrs.

Datt launched this campaign in 2015 on the birth anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr. The campaign aims to link the fight against racism with Holi – a Hindu festival of colours that helps in eradicating caste and class barriers in India. This year, the festival of Holi fell on March 21, which is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Those present on the occasion included BC Minister for Labour Harry Bains, Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism Ravi Kahlon and Surrey Greentimbers MLA Rachna Singh.

Kahlon formally announced the proclamation of March 21 as “Raise Your Hands Against Racism Day” in recognition of the campaign started by Spice Radio. Earlier, BC Premier John Horgan gave Spice Radio a Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Award under the Business category, at an event held in Vancouver on the evening of March 21. Significantly, Horgan had kick started this year's campaign by visiting the Spice Radio studios in January. 

Kahlon emphasized that such campaigns have become even more relevant considering what happened in Christchurch on March 15. Both Point and Sharma also observed that the fight against racism must continue in light of the growing alt right movement all over the world.

Among others who spoke at the event were Spice Radio General Manager and Production Director Sudhir Datta, Newscaster and Talk Show Host Safeeya Pirani, another talk show host Gurpreet Singh, budding radio reporter Sohila, Rochelle Prasad from Camp We Empower, community activist Suresh Kurl and well-known physician Arun Garg.

Kurl shed a light on the significance of Holi and its connection with the spirit behind anti-racism movement.

The members of South Asian Arts and Shiamak Vancouver gave free performances. The event culminated with the participants dipping their hands in colour and leaving their hand-prints on a sheet of white paper along with statements against racism and hate.

 

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