"if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen
the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu.

Spice Radio honours woman behind orange shirt pins dedicated to the victims of Indian Residential Schools, and Annie Ohana Featured


Jennifer Sherif is among the two recipients of the annual Hands Against Racism campaign awards.   

Started by Burnaby-based Spice Radio, on the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. in 2015, the anti-racism initiative has entered its eighth year.    

As part of this campaign, the radio station honours individuals who have done anti-racism work, at the annual event which is often organized close to Holi, an Indian festival of colours that binds together people of different ethnic backgrounds.     

This year, Sherif is being given an award for making special pins in memory of the victims of Indian Residential Schools (IRS). With the recent findings of the unmarked graves of Indigenous children at the former sites of IRS, the issue has come into the limelight internationally.  

Sherif’s pins represent the orange shirt taken away from Phyllis Webstad, an indigenous child who went to the IRS. Following the discoveries of unmarked graves, people in Canada began sporting orange shirts to show their solidarity with the First Nations.    

An indigenous educator, Sherif was also instrumental behind an online petition asking for a statutory holiday on the National Aboriginal Day.  It has received more than 36,000 signatures.  

In a virtual event to be held at 12 pm on Saturday, March 19, a day after Holi, Sherif will receive the award by Spice Radio CEO Shushma Datt.   (Those who want to watch the entire program can go to the radio station’s Facebook page.)   

Datt separately wore the pin and thanked Sherif’s community of Tsalagi Nation on social media.  

Sherry Duggal, a prominent performing artist, will read a poem dedicated to the children of IRS on the occasion.  

The second recipient is Annie Ohana, a renowned anti-racism educator and social justice activist.  

Ohana has been a part of many grassroots level movements and is a strong defender of human rights. She has been a tireless ally of indigenous communities, immigrants and refugees, and other marginalised groups.  

Datt’s interviews with the two recipients will be major highlights of the annual event, which will be joined by several other distinguished personalities, such as BC Parliamentary Secretary for anti-racism initiatives Rachna Singh, climate justice activist Donna Clark, Hijab-wearing Muslim feminist Dr. Nazia Niazi, and students associated with Ohana’s Mustang Justice movement. 

This year’s campaign went global, as well known participants from faraway places like England and India sent in pictures with their hands up in the air. Among them were Ravi Singh, the CEO of Khalsa Aid, an international humanitarian organization, award winning Punjabi author Balbir Madhopuri, filmmaker Rajeev Kumar, and much acclaimed differently-abled youth role model and champions in various fields Yashveer Goyal.  

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Last modified on Tuesday, 08 March 2022 14:43
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