Electing to engage harmony and inclusion from the start
Now that the elections are over and the signs are coming down, it's time to look towards the future and create positive dialogue regarding the issues in our community.
One of the issues that wasn't discussed during this election was our growing cultural divide.
This divide does not only exist here in Abbotsford and Mission, but throughout several pockets within our country. Local elected officials have an important role and responsibility in demonstrating leadership on this topic.
The main reason why the cultural divide in Canada has continued to grow is because we have allowed it to, and our elected officials have paid very little attention to the matter.
In the next 20 years, if Canadians do not tackle or change the course of action the cultural polarization will continue to spread.
We're at a crucial turning point where we can build bridges and strengthen partnerships within our communities, or face the consequences of growing isolation.
The more isolated communities become, the risk of racism becomes a reality.
Unfortunately in recent years, many ethnic groups have steered away from becoming involved with other cultures other than their own in mainstream activities.
Parents and their children need to encourage each other daily to speak to other people outside of their own ethnic backgrounds and invite them into their homes.
Some of the ways families and people within our communities can be proactive in this change is to join integrated sports teams and leagues, or become involved in local activities.
I had the pleasure of meeting Svitlana Zafiekina at a Diwali function in Mission. She is visiting us for the third time as part of the Canada World Youth volunteer exchange pro-gram. As part of her PhD research, she is studying our diversity model and plans on taking our example back to the Ukraine to share with others.
"Canada is diverse and multicultural, I wanted to learn if diversity was taught here and if so how? It's an exciting program because I'm able to work with different cultures," she said.
This story is a leading example of how we can build relationships with people from different countries and cultures.
Throughout my years as a columnist, I've always strived to strike a fair balance in building a strong, connected and diverse community.
Sometimes I receive negative feedback that may surprise some.
Recently, I was told: "You're against your own ethnic [South Asian] community."
It's extremely disheartening. What I have been is fair and honest in my commentary without favouritism or biases.
- Ken Herar is a freelance columnist. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.