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‘Well behaved women never make history’ Surrey MLA recognized at Shakti Awards

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In celebration of International Women’s Day, Shakti Society honoured 16 women for both professional and personal achievements during its 15th annual Shakti Awards. The awards were presented by Shaki Society on Saturday, March 25, at Bollywood Banquet Hall in Surrey, B.C..

Sue Hammell, MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers, received the Shakti Award for Liifetime Achievement and the keynote speaker for the evening. As she accepted her award, she recalled how talking to Aboriginal women who lived in native reserves inspired her to co-found the Minerva Foundation for BC Women.

“We’re talking to the women there and they were talking about focusing on health and education to improve the condition of their band members. As we were talking, one woman who was at the band council table turned to me and said, ‘It’s not fair.’’

Hammell founded the Minerva Foundation shortly after, with Nancy McKinstry in 1991. One of the tenets of the foundation is to provide leadership courses to women in Aboriginal communities throughout the province. “Even though the world is complicated and unfair, we can all do something to make a difference. It brings me back to the saying that well behaved women never make history,” Hammell addressed the audience.

“We have to step out there and tell people fairness is equality. It looks like equality not only from a gender perspective but equality is about diversity within our community.”

Other recipients for the Shakti Awards included Gurpreet Kaur Bains for academic achievement, Rimpy Sahota for artistic achievement, Hema Bhatt for business and entrepreneur, Rabina Anjum for public service, Kerry Gibson for resilience, and Moving Forward Society for excellence community organization.

“Shakti Awards is about recognizing women that have made a difference in their own lives and in the community,” said Sonia Andhi, founder of Shakti Society. “So when we honour those women … It’s a good reminder for women and the community how you can you change a life and how you can make a difference.”

Shakti Awards is the only fundraiser Shakti Society hosts for itself. The proceeds from the awards night will go to Shakti Society and towards scholarships the non-profit awards to young women and children of single-parent families.

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Harsimran Sachdeva and Renita Bangert performed Karthak at the opening of the awards.

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“As we gather here today, let us take the opportunity to thank the women in our lives who have inspired us and who have fought for a more just world, overcoming many obstacles to do so” MP Sukh Dhaliwal read Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s special address for the Shakti Awards.

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Former mayor Dianne Watts was one of the political guests in attendance at the Shakti Awards. “I really believe it is incumbent upon us to ensure that we are helping those that are coming after us. As we gone through our careers, and we continue to do whatever we do in our lives, we can never forget the young girls and young women that are coming behind us,” said Watts.

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The evening was marked with a number of musical performances. Kassuke Yeo led a drum performance with audience participants, bringing the room to life with deafening echoes of the drums and chants.

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“I am truly, truly honoured. Thank you.” MLA Sue Hammell kept her acceptance speech for her lifetime achievement Shakti Award brief after already addressing the audience as keynote speaker.

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Women Moving Forward Society was presented the Shakti Award of Excellence Community Organization.

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Shawna Narayan (right) was one of the recipients for academic achievements. The teen graduated from Frank Hurt Secondary with a 4.0 gpa and has received over 15 scholarships.

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“How much content and competencies we as teachers can teach is not as important, but what’s important is how our kids are modelling empathy and compassion in their communities.  Academic excellence is achieved when our students are the very best human beings they can be,” said Gurpreet Kaur Bains upon receiving the Shakti Award for Academic Achievement.

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Rimpy Sahota (center) was recognized for starting her own brand, Rimpy Sahota Ltd, and was presented a Shakti Award for Artistic Achievement Excellence.

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Karina Hayat was presented with the Shakti Award for Business for finding and becoming president of Prizm Media. “It really takes an entire community to empower a woman, to give her the confidence that she needs to empower her children, to empower her community, and therefore in turn, that woman can go and empower its economy and become its light,” said Hayat.

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Hema Bhatt (pictured third from right), vice-president of Natu Oil Services Inc, was presented with a Shakti Award for Business and Entrepreneur Excellence. Bhatt was credited for helping the company flourish from a turnover of $100,000  to $113 million, especially after her husband and business partner suffered a stroke three years ago.

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Ustad Cassius Khan and Amika Kushwaha entertained the guests with a performance of classical Indian music. Khan played the tabula, while Kushwaha played the harmonium.

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Gurdip Kaur Dhaliwal was one of the recipients for the Shakti Award for Resilience for creating a support group for women in the early 90s, which is now known as the Sahara Group for Indo-Canadian women.

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Kerry Gibson was also honoured with the Shakti Award for Resilience. After becoming paraplegic due to a car accident with a drunk driver, she started entered business and eventually becoming the president of Ecocentury Technology. Gibson is currently the Canadian liaison for UN Women.

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Ramanjot Kingra received the Shakti Award for Public Service in the Youth category. Kingra was honoured for her work as Director of External Affairs for the non-profit organization, SOAR Philanthropic Society.

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A dance performance by Yasmina Dance Company concluded the entertainment for the night.

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Sheetal Reddy is a multimedia journalist located in Surrey. While she is still new to the media scene, she is most interested in covering topics such as social issues and politics.

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Internationally awarded youth led Surrey based organization puts on successful online conference in-spite of COVID

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Pre-COVID Spark group photo

SPARK Foundation Canada has hosted their, first of many, fully virtual conference Leaders Today! SPARK foundation is a non-profit organization made up of 16-23 year old leaders empowering the next generation through in person, and online life education: workshops, camps and community programs. They also work towards accomplishing the United Nations sustainable development goals: Quality Education, Sustainable Cities & Communities, Climate Action and Peace Justice and Strong Institutions!

The live event took place on Sunday November 15, with guest speakers Anjali Dhaliwal and Abhay Sachal. The audience hailed from all over the lower mainland ranging from students as young as 13 to 21.

Sarah Cheng, Volunteer Engagement Lead & Srusti Subash, Marketing Lead along with the efforts of Rochelle Prasad, CEO/ Co-Founder of SPARK Foundation, have meticulously organised this conference for youth in High School and University. It centered around an idea to inspire youth to engage in their communities amidst the pandemic despite the restrictions imposed on traditional volunteering opportunities.

Anjali Dhaliwal, CEO of Youth Helping Youth, was the first speaker introducing the importance of personal branding. She spoke intimately of personal experiences that led to her growth and success encouraging the conference attendees to explore new things and find their passion.

Abhay Sachal, spoke about his journey to the Arctic that incited the urge to create an international organization advocating for climate justice where he became Co-Founder of Break The Divide. Through various activities connecting with their audience, both speakers were exceptional in delivering their thoughts and empowering those watching.

The conference ran for 2 and a half hours with a fun activity midway through where participants were placed in breakout sessions and given the prompt: if your team owned a cookie shop, what would they name it? This activity brought about a variety of responses developed from imaginative or analytical points of view.

When the audience was asked what they thought of the event, responses were overwhelmingly positive. Viewers spoke on how the conference impacted them where they’ve realised “Climate change has inequitable impacts on marginalized and minority communities. Leadership requires truly genuine passion for building a better community, nation, and world because we want to make everything better than how we found it.”

Aside from this conference, SPARK Foundation has provided youth across Canada volunteering opportunities through their General Ambassador Program which focuses on media and marketing, a skill set that has become extremely important to this generation.

SPARK Foundation has also contributed to their communities by organizing several Covid Relief Projects by delivering over 300 care packages of essential items to low income families and over 200 meals to essential workers in Surrey, BC.

For future events or more information visit www.sparkfoundation.ca

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2020 Vancouver Queer Film Festival Shifts to Digital Platform

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Out On Screen Announces Interim Executive Director, Festival Dates, Gala Films, & Creative Design Tickets on Sale July 13 at queerfilmfestival.ca

(Vancouver, B.C.) – Out On Screen is proud to present a virtual Vancouver Queer Film Festival (VQFF) this summer from Thursday, August 13 to Sunday, August 23, 2020. Announced today, VQFF and Out On Screen as a whole will be guided by the leadership of new Interim Executive Director, Brandon Yan. Brandon has served as Out On Screen’s Deputy Executive Director and was previously the Director of Education for Out In Schools.

“I am more than delighted to continue to be of service to Out On Screen and the communities I so deeply care about,” says Yan. “In times like these, the importance of art and storytelling is even more apparent. We must remain committed to being a platform to uplift and celebrate the LGBT2Q+ stories at the margins.”

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the 32nd annual Vancouver Queer Film Festival has adapted to an online format in order to offer at-home audiences the best in independent queer cinema along with workshops, artist Q&As, panels, parties and – most importantly – the feeling of gathering with friends and kin.

Out On Screen is working hard to ensure this year’s Festival is accessible and safe for community members who are immunocompromised or part of another vulnerable sector. Tickets for VQFF 2020 will be available to the public on July 13 at www.queerfilmfestival.ca. Tickets range in price from $10 to $14 with a special COVID19 access pricing ranging from $2-$5.

Curated by Artistic Director, Anoushka Ratnarajah, the theme of this year’s Festival is “Still Here”. “VQFF is on this August, and will feature films and interdisciplinary programming from queer filmmakers and artists whose work shows the many ways we fight for the fullness of our lives, for what and who we love, and for our shared futures,” says Ratnarajah. “Our theme this year is ‘Still Here’, because our survival is an inevitable miracle. Nothing can stop us from taking root; we will always reach for the light and sky.”

Illuminating and celebrating LGBTQ2+ lives in all their dimensions and complexity, VQFF is Vancouver’s second largest film festival and the largest queer arts event in Western Canada. Welcoming its presenting sponsor RBC once again, this year’s Festival will open on August 13th with a soon to be announced Opening Gala film and a virtual celebration of our local queer community.

The Festival’s Centrepiece Gala film is Lingua Franca, an ambitious feature film that follows a trans Filipina migrant as she navigates being undocumented in a Trump-era America. The film is written, directed by and stars trans actress Isabel Sandoval, who will join audiences virtually to discuss the film in a digital Q&A.

VQFF will once again feature a variety of youth focused programming, including a Youth Gala screening of the inspirational documentary Changing The Game, which follows three boundary-breaking young trans athletes changing the face of sports in their communities and across the United States.

The Festival will continue to celebrate B.C.’s most standout emerging and established filmmakers with Festival favourite, The Coast is Queer – an evening dedicated to local talent. Finally, this year’s VQFF will close with the heartwarming queer Muslim romantic comedy, Breaking Fast, directed by Mike Mosallam.

The 2020 VQFF program will be available online at www.queerfilmfestival.ca on July 13, 2020.

For more information, please visit the following platforms:

Website: www.queerfilmfestival.ca
Instagram: www.instagram.com/queerfilmfest
Facebook: www.facebook.com/VancouverQFF
Twitter: www.twitter.com/queerfilmfest (#VQFF2020)

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3 Way to Celebrate Father’s Day this weekend!

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OPTION 1

Why not crack a cold one & fire up the grill with dad, and serve up a feast with Stanley Park Brewing’s do-it-yourself BBQ Kit? They’ll prep all the ingredients and you’ll do all the cookin’. And they’ve partnered with Filson to add a little something to keep your dad’s beer cold on Father’s Day. Receive one insulated stainless-steel can cooler with your kit. *While supplies last.

Order your Father’s Day BBQ Kit here: https://stanleyparkbrewstore.com/products/fathers-day-bbq-kit-with-filson-gift. Kits are available for 2, 4, and 6 people. Depending on the size of kit, you will receive a mix of the following at different quantities: lemon and herb marinated chicken, 8oz steaks, burgers with all the fixings (6 person kit only), Sunsetter baked beans, child lime roasted corn, sweet potato salad, coleslaw, and homemade cornbread.

Finish off your order by adding on a 6-pack of your choice. Our recommended beer pairing would be Stanley Park Brewing’s new Waypoint Hazy Pale Ale!

Note: All orders must be placed by 3pm on Wednesday, June 17th. Packages are available for pick-up at Stanley Park Brewing Restaurant & Brewpub on Saturday, June 20th or Sunday, June 21st.

OPTION 2

Looking to take Dad out to celebrate? The Stanley Park Brewing Restaurant and Brewpub will be having a special dine-in only Father’s Day Feast Menu for $38 per person. You can also add a pint of flight of your choice for only $5.75 (happy hour pricing)! The menu includes: Pretzel with spicy mustard and Noble Pilsner beer cheese, half a pound of Chicken Wings, Halibut n Chips with coleslaw, and a Cheesecake by The Cheesecake Factory Bakery for dessert.

OPTION 3

Want to give Dad some TLC?

Filson and Fortknight Barbers, two Gastown staples, have teamed up to help you give dad a gift he’s going to love. We all need a little TLC as we re-enter the world after our little time-out and what better way than with a stylish professional haircut and a brand new Button up shirt. On top of that a very special gift from Stanley Park Brewing.

Here’s how it works:

01. Dad books a time for a haircut with Fortknight Barbers. Capacity is limited due to safety protocols, so please book this appointment first. Fortknight Barbers | 46 Alexander St | 604-620-7930

02. Call Filson to schedule a private shopping time either before or after your cut. They have set up the space in the back of the store just for private shopping and a sanitized fitting room will be reserved for you. Filson | 47 Water St |604-689-1836

03. Your shirt, along with any other purchases, will be steamed for sanitization and packaged along with your special gift of a 6-pack of Waypoint Hazy Pale Ale from Stanley Park Brewing. You can either take it with you from Filson, or they will deliver it to you at Fortknight once you’ve been all cleaned up.

This package is $140 including all taxes and is available for purchase through either the Filson or Fortknight Barbers locations. They will provide you with a certificate at time of purchase that will need to be presented at each establishment to redeem. While the Filson location will be open only for curbside pickup prior to Father’s Day, you can call ahead and pay for it and then they will hand you the certificate at the front door when you arrive, or they can mail it to you if you prefer.

This package is a great way to treat yourself, a friend, a dad or any guy you know that just needs a little pampering. Quantities are limited, so please order today.

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The Punjabi Market Goes Virtual for its 50th Anniversary

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  • May 31st, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Vancouver’s Punjabi Market
  • The Punjabi Market Regeneration Collective presents “PM50” on May 31st
  • “PM50” will be a virtual celebration, streamed on Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram
  • The Punjabi Market Regeneration is a registered nonprofit organization that seeks to revitalize the Punjabi Market in Vancouver thus facilitating opportunities for cultural belonging and also economic success for business owners

Vancouver, B.C.​ – To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Punjabi Market, The ​Punjabi Market Regeneration Collective​ presents “PM50”, taking place virtually on Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube on Sunday, May 31st, 2020. Hosted by Hockey Night in Punjabi’s Amrit Gill, the livestream will feature an interview with the Market’s first shop owner, Mr. Sucha Singh Claire, and performances by Shaan-e-Punjab, Nachiye, and Amarjeet and Baljit Singh.

The Punjabi Market runs along Main Street, from 49th to 51st, and is the oldest “Little India” in North America. In 1983, the Punjabi Market became home to the world’s first set of street signs written in Punjabi script outside of India. Michael Lee, MLA for Vancouver-Langara opined that “[the] Punjabi Market is an important part of the historical and cultural history of both the city of Vancouver and of my riding, Vancouver-Langara.

Since the first store opened in 1971, the Punjabi Market has been considered a place to support cultural identity as is demonstrated every year by the sheer number of upwards of 100,000 attendees at the annual Vaisakhi Parade through the Punjabi Market.”

The 50th Anniversary celebration will include an online shopping portal that aims to support business owners with recovery following the economic impact of the pandemic. In addition, the celebration includes a piece of public art by PMRC Creative Director, Jag Nagra, that will be unveiled closer to the date of the celebration. The event is a collaboration between the Punjabi Market Regeneration Collective, South Asian Arts Society, Indian Summer Arts Society, 5X Festival, Daily Hive, Westcoast Foundation, and the City of Vancouver.

PM50 Details

Date: ​May 31st, 2020
Time: 7:10 – 7:40 PM
Location: Facebook, Instagram, Youtube

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City of Surrey to host virtual Canada Day Celebration

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Surrey, B.C. – The City of Surrey has announced Surrey Canada Day will be hosted virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic and consideration for public health and safety. Presented by Coast Capital Savings, Virtual Surrey Canada Day will take place on July 1 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. for the kid’s and senior’s segment, and regular programming from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., broadcasted on Facebook and YouTube Live.

“While the safety of our community is the top priority during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it doesn’t mean we can’t find a way to celebrate this great country of ours,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “Surrey will have its annual Canada Day celebration, but this year we will be coming together virtually.

Hosted by a true Canadian icon, Hayley Wickenheiser, and featuring nationally recognized musical artists from BC such as Colin James, Bif Naked and 54-40, Virtual Surrey Canada Day will be an opportunity to safely celebrate and show our national pride on Canada’s birthday.”

Hosted by four-time Olympic gold medalist, Hayley Wickenheiser, this year’s free family-friendly virtual event will feature a series of segments including, musical entertainment, virtual tours, indigenous and cultural acts, a “Family Hour” for kids and seniors, dance lessons, a rodeo tribute, and a virtual firework finale to end the night.

The livestream will feature musical performances by local Surrey artists and Canadian groups including Colin James, 54-40, Bif Naked, Toque, Said the Whale, and Madeline Merlo.

The broadcast will pay tribute to those affected by COVID-19 and honour the courageous local frontline health care workers and essential service providers. Additionally, Virtual Surrey Canada Day is working alongside corporate sponsors to raise $10,000 for the Surrey Food Bank to support the City’s vulnerable population.

“Although it will look a bit different this year, Coast Capital is delighted to support Virtual Surrey Canada Day.” said Maureen Young, Director, Community Leadership, Coast Capital Savings. “In this unique time, it is absolutely essential that we find innovative ways to continue to nurture a strong relationship with our friends, families and our wider community.

This virtual celebration offers us all a chance to come together in a new way to celebrate our diversity and our pride in our nation while still focusing on keeping everyone safe and healthy.”

The City recognizes the impact the current pandemic and physical distancing measures may have during the summer event season. Residents are encouraged to continue to connect with each other online to limit the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve. The City of Surrey is working closely with the Fraser Health Authority, the BC Centre for Disease Control, and the Public Health Agency of Canada to monitor and to respond to the current COVID-19 situation.

This project has been made possible in part by the Government of Canada.

For more information, visit surrey.ca/canadaday

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