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Surrey: The Most Colourful City In BC



Entering Surrey has always been emotionally interesting to me, it always felt like Surrey was in between everything and lasted forever. You couldn’t get anywhere “cool” in BC without crossing through Surrey. I guess that makes sense, after all Surrey is spread out having the largest land area in BC with over 300 km² and a population over 500,000 2nd only to Vancouver.

Truly one could say in a way that it’s the most central of all cities in British Columbia. It touches the whole of Fraser Valley and forms an umbrella for the lower mainland. When you think of Surrey you think of Bridges such as the beautiful Alex Fraser bridge or the iconic Pattullo bridge. It’s not a hop skip and a jump.

In high school Surrey received honourably the brunt of many jokes perpetuated by stereotypes and the crassness of teenagers. Yes, sadly on occasion I’d find myself snickering with said jokes, sorry…peer pressure is a thing. Living in Vancouver there was a stigma attached to Surrey, not really sure why. If you were ever to date a girl from Surrey, well, you were sure to hear a joke about “Surrey girls”.

Go figure that the first love in my life lived in Surrey. For that matter that thus far the coolest team I work with as a creative happens to be in Surrey (note to the editor remember this when considering bonuses *kisses*:) it’s only recently seen in the last decade that one can say they know someone that lives in Abbotsford or Chilliwack, that’s still kind of novel to hear while living in Vancouver but it’s old news to see you live in Surrey, because doesn’t everybody?

Anyway I think you get the point. But something that has been known for a while is rising above all reasons for why you should as a British Columbian get to know Surrey is that 60% of the population is non-white. It is The ethnic diversity capital of BC, truly beautiful the most colourful city. If you live in Surrey, these facts should fill you with pride.

That said it perhaps should also bring you a moment of pause and reflection on how you view people, persons, different from you whether by to colour of skin, religious background and belief or sexual orientation and so on and so forth. Really it should motivate us to consider how we view our fellow humans and even more importantly how we treat each other.

This last Friday, June 5th 2020, nearly 8000 attended the black lives matter protests in Vancouver BC. was there to document the event. As I panned my cameras around and took pictures I saw many Caucasians more so than black people, but I also saw a large gathering of black people and I felt for parts of the protests like I was back home in West Africa, Cote D’ivoire, Ghana and Togo (areas which saw much export of slavery to the Americas).

When reflecting back on the stats articulated here I can’t help wonder how many had attended from Surrey. Now as I drive through Surrey I think about the unrest across the world, and through the United States, how it has affected each brother and sister of colour and how perhaps it’s affected many of my caucasian brothers and sisters.

During the protest many speakers took the platform near the water at Canada Place, starting and finishing each speech with a resounding “No Justice No Peace!” Or “Black Lives Matter” for which the crowd would echo back, hands clenched in fists raised high above their head. Some speakers were children, some teenagers, amongst many activists and artists, Black, South Asian, Indigenous, Mixed Ethnicities and White.

Some discussed the abuse and pain they suffered and crowd either cheered in comforting support or chanted “Shame!” after each injustice was described. Some of these young speakers, broke down in tears and could not carry on to speak, some cried out in pain. The masks covering the mouths of so many left only peoples eyes and tears to be observed.

When an experience particularly painful would be spoken out loud, you might have caught the look of a white person towards you (if you were black or a visible minority). All eyes wanted to say something. At one point I needed to get myself up onto a high step to gain a better vantage point in order to capture better footage. A young white man offered to help me up with all my gear.

It wasn’t something that had never happened, that would be an exaggeration…but it was a gesture I knew he sincerely meant as a way to honour me. I was humbled by his kind action. I had been taught with these same values through my parents and in my faith. I had been blessed to associate with folks who strived everyday to show such genuine fellow feeling towards all.

Yet over the years, more so lately than previously, I have noticed begrudging, not genuine, acts of kindness. It’s hard to believe but it feels like now more than ever, the present reality is that the motivation to love our neighbor and to treat others as we wish to be treated has been the exception and not really the rule. Diversity and impartiality is dictated more by corporate risk assessment and political majority votes, than moral obligations.

As I walked through the crowd that day, I slipped through the respectful gathering following black person after black person, and I smiled. People cheered blocks away from the speeches who couldn’t even hear what was being said. They cheered nonetheless. For a moment many I’m sure felt unity in a way not often felt these days, and certainly they rejoiced briefly to be amongst fellow human beings in such a crowd, still during a worldwide pandemic. A historic moment among many in 2020.

So now what? What has been learned so far? We know it’s not over, that’s for sure, but in the year of what’s next…what’s next?

Without directing any opinion towards political and legal reforms which are most likely to come, whether you participate in active protest and vocalizing calls for change through public activism or not, each of us can take some clear responsible steps within ourselves and in the circle of our own families in order to better love and respect our neighbor impartial of the colour of their skin.

Although there are many, for the most part, good suggestions on how you can do this, such as embracing an others culture by trying their traditional food (my favourite thing to do! Especially in Surrey) or engulfing yourself in another’s music or learning a little or a lot of their language, or trying out their fashion, (that’s so much fun when I can find something my size), we can all work on just one to begin with, that can have a lasting impact on our home, our neighborhood, our community our country and indeed the planet earth.

Treat other people, the way you would like to be treated.

And all the people said: “No Justice, No Peace!”

Desiré Amouzou is a Photojournalist and Documentary Filmmaker. For over a decade Desiré worked as a Corporate Investigator in the private sector, specializing in Forensic Interviewing and Organized Crime Investigations. Part of a mixed race family, African father from New York and a Okanagan Girl from Oliver BC, he was taught to love all people. Though it’s been years since they’ve both passed away, Desiré honours their memory by serving his community In speaking up and asking hard questions, listening, and capturing the film and photos that speak for those who can’t or won’t speak.





Crime Stoppers “MOST WANTED” is a weekly fan out service based on information provided by police investigators who need public assistance in making our communities safer by identifying individuals involved in committing crimes.

If you have any information regarding the individuals listed here, please contact Crime Stoppers anonymously. You could be eligible for a reward of up to $2000 upon arrest and charge. You will never be asked your name or have to appear in court.

Subject: 1

Name: JOHNSTON, Brock Daniel
Age: 40
Height: 5’10” (170 cm)
Weight: 160lbs (72 kg)
Hair: Bald
Eyes: Blue
Wanted: *Canada Wide * Bank Robbery and Sex Assault .
Tattoos: *Right upper arm “cat”,* Chest “Death before “Dishonor”
Warrant in Effect: June 17th, 2020
Jurisdiction: Vancouver Parole

Subject: 2

Name: MACLEOD, Christopher
Age: 34
Height: 5’10″ (177 cm)
Weight: 1681bs (76 kg)
Hair: Brown
Eyes: Hazel
Wanted: *Canada Wide* Break Enter and Commit – Theft Under (x17), Break Enter with Intent (x3), and Mischief in Relation to Property
Tattoos: *Left Hand – “FUCK IT WERE 10, CM”, On fingers, Cross, Diamond, Chest – RT Side – Devils Head, LT Side – “MOM” Right Upper Arm – Grim Reaper/Skulls
Warrant in Effect: June 17, 2020
Jurisdiction: Vancouver Parole

Subject: 3

Name: SERSON, Stuart
Age: 39
Height: 5’6” (170 cm)
Weight: 176lbs (80 kg)
Hair: Brown
Eyes: Brown
Wanted: *Canada Wide*.Robbery – Use Firearm All Others, Possession of Property Obtained by Crime – Under, Fail To Comply with Probation Order, Mischief in Relation to Other Property,
Tattoos: *RIGHTER UPPER ARM “Warrier” Tribal art, LEFT SHOULDER- “Scarface” ,- NECK- Chinese symbol “81”, LEFT FOREARM- Dragan
Warrant in Effect: June 17th, 2020
Jurisdiction: New West Parole

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The anti-racism protests seen in the U.S. and other countries, and recent news reports of violent anti-Asian crimes in Vancouver, have renewed our awareness about the hurtful effects, and the unlawful nature, of racism as a hate crime.

Any member of the public with information about racist activity or any hate crime, or who might be a witness, can:

  • Directly call the local police department. They will investigate hate crimes including graffiti, vandalism and hate propaganda. For emergencies such as a racially-motivated assault, you can call 9-1-1-and state that you are reporting a hate crime.
  • If you wish to remain anonymous when reporting a hate crime, report the details to Crime Stoppers at either 1-800-222-TIPS, or 1-855-448-TIPS. Calls to Crime Stoppers are answered 24/7 and are accepted in 115 different languages. Anonymous information can also be provided through the Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers website, or by using the downloadable “P3” Crime Stoppers reporting app.

Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers’ latest statistics show almost one in every five anonymous tips it received in April relate to hate crimes.

“When people cross the line to racism and other hate crimes, that’s when we have a responsibility to report it rather than ignore it.” says Linda Annis, Executive Director of Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers. “There is no place for hate crime in Canada or anywhere else. If you’ve experienced it, or you’ve seen it happen, you can call Crime Stoppers. You will remain absolutely anonymous. All we need is the information to pass on to investigators who can do something about it.”

What's a Hate Crime?

A hate crime is defined as any criminal offense against a person or group or against property that is motivated by hatred or prejudice towards an identifiable group, as outlined in the Criminal Code of Canada:


  • The BC Hate Crimes Team notes about half of reported hate crimes in Canada are motivated by race (social categories based on characteristics including colour of skin, shape of eyes, hair texture and facial features) and ethnicity (common culture, history, language or nationhood)


  • Almost 20 per cent of hate crimes in Canada, often violent crimes, are motivated by sexual orientation and identity.


  • Hate crimes against religious communities or individuals, based on perceived or misinterpreted religious attire or affiliation. These are often mischief such as vandalism, graffiti or destruction of property.


  • Offences against elderly individuals or those with mental or physical disabilities including developmental challenges, intelligence , physical and mental health disorders.

Victims who need support or have non-emergency questions about these kinds of hate crime can contact the BC Hate Crimes Team for resources, training, or education at

About Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers

Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers is a non-profit society and registered charity that offers rewards for anonymous tip information about criminal activity and provides it to investigators in the communities of Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Anonymous tips may be provided though Crime Stoppers’ downloadable “P3” app for Apple and Android phones, calling Crime Stoppers at 1-855-448-8477 (new number) or 1-800-222- 8477, online at, or by following the link on the Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers Facebook page.

Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers accepts tips in 115 different languages and will pay a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of a criminal, recovery of stolen property, seizure of illegal drugs or guns or denial of a fraudulent insurance claim. Tipsters stay anonymous by using code numbers to check back later and collect their rewards.

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“Hello South Asians” initiative provides free COVID-19 Info in 20+ South Asian Languages



Three postgraduate South Asian women – Serene Singh (University of Oxford), Ravina Anand (University of British Columbia), and Nandini Kochar (New York University Abu Dhabi), have created 100+ COVID-19 Informational Media Content and Infographics in 20+ South Asian languages with the help of students from over 53 countries worldwide in an aim to address misinformation, reduce panic, and provide free, accessible, and accurate content for South Asians everywhere.

Despite living in three different parts of the world, we have identified one common issue: South Asian families, parents, and youth are not getting correct information about the pandemic. This has manifested into many negative effects in our communities across the globe including panic attacks among other mental health issues, discrimination between South Asian community members and neighbors, and inadvertently making the job and responsibilities of public health workers more difficult in a multitude of ways.

With many South Asian families on social media platforms including Whatsapp group chats increasingly sharing contradictory and inaccurate information, this team of women sees this as a major threat to the public health systems and the mental health of South Asians globally in the coming future.

Singh states, “South Asians are remarkably diverse worldwide from every angle of the word – technologically, linguistically, culturally, socially, etc., but often live in shared areas. This means that any misinformation has intensified and echoed negative effects throughout communities. Without first having accurate information in the language of a community, our world can’t address the myriad of issues related to the pandemic we are now seeing. COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate and as such, neither should access to information about it.”

To challenge this issue, the team has developed interactive infographics in 20+ languages widely spoken by South Asians worldwide. Additionally, the team has created 100+ shareable media content for easy printing in areas without widespread technology, as well as distribution on all major social media channels. The languages included are as follows: Arabic, Assamese, Balochi, Bangla, English, Farsi, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malay, Odia, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Pashto, Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi, Sinhala, Tamil, & Telugu.

While these languages do not represent all South Asian linguistic diversity and breadth, Hello South Asians is hoping to continue to add languages, make changes, and help this project reach more of our communities with your support. We welcome any individuals or organizations who are interested in helping us become even more inclusive – an element critical to our mission and vision.

The info graphics have been prepared with the guidance and advice of reliable sources like the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control, among others. Within the team of students from around the, we have medical professionals, trained journalists, doctors, policy analysts, and public health experts. Students from 53+ countries have helped translate the documents to their native tongues. Their goal with these infographics is to make accurate information, from reliable sources, to go viral in our South Asian communication streams.

Moreover, the team is in the works of developing their Ambassador Program for young people around the world to get involved in the project from the comfort of their homes. With the accessible material made by Hello South Asians and the many translators, the Ambassadors will be tasked to ensure the safe and effective delivery of this information in their various communities.

This will require creativity and a diverse range of solutions to ensure those who cannot access the internet regularly and/or do not understand English can receive the necessary information to keep safe and stay positive in this difficult time.

Kochar states, “The growing issue of misinformation and misleading journalism can have grave effects on all of us, especially communities with little to no access to reliable sources of public health information. This is precisely the gap we are trying to fill – creatively and digitally. Through evidence-based and culturally-relevant information, we are aiming to reach every region, village, household, and Whatsapp group in South Asia.”

To learn more about Hello South Asians and how you can support them with additional South Asian language translations or other content to challenge misinformation and promote positive mental health and curate factual information across our diaspora in this challenging time, please email

Anand states, “We believe it is our duty to protect our community globally and do our part to help make life better for one another. Our work exists but we are relying on you all to help us get our message out there so it actually can help the people who we are hoping it will help. Join our team and support our vision – we are always ready to do more to strengthen our community.”

Learn more about Hello South Asians by visiting the links below:

Join the Global Ambassador Program:
Partner with Us:

Learn more about the Co-Founders of Hello South Asians by visiting the links below:

Ravina Anand:
Serene Singh:
Nandini Kochar:

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Domestic violence on the rise during pandemic; anonymous tips to Crime Stoppers wanted



The tensions that can emerge from being quarantined at home day- after-day with the same people are starting to reveal themselves in the latest statistics on domestic violence.

Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers urges anyone with information on any specific case of domestic abuse to call and provide anonymous information.

“With no sign yet of the stay-at home orders being lifted, people may know of friends, neighbours, or even relative strangers down the street who may be suffering abuse at the hands of a spouse or partner. Many people don’t want to get involved, but an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers may put an end to it, or even save a life,” says Linda Annis, Executive Director of Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers.

Vancouver’s Battered Women’s Support Services reports a 300 per cent spike in calls to its crisis line since the COVID-19 outbreak began.

A similar trend is reported elsewhere in places like New York City, and United Nations Secretary- General António Guterres pointed out recently that violence is not confined to the battlefield. He said, “For many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest – in their own homes” due to COVID-19 lockdowns. He’s calling for what he calls “peace in the home”.

“With the pandemic deepening and domestic violence worsening here in B.C and around the world, we should all be vigilant. If you know someone who’s a victim, an anonymous call to Crime Stoppers means the information will get to someone who can investigate,” says Linda Annis.

Do you know a victim of domestic violence? Some common signs that someone may be abused at home:

  • Their partner may be jealous, possessive or excessively controlling
  • Their partner may insult them in front others
  • They constantly worry about making their partner angry
  • They make excuses for their partner’s behaviour
  • They have unexplained marks or injuries
  • A noticeable change in normal behaviour; no longer spend time with friends and family

About Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers is a non-profit society and registered charity that offers rewards for anonymous tip information about criminal activity and provides it to investigators in the communities of Metro Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Anonymous tips may be provided though Crime Stoppers’ downloadable “P3” app for Apple and Android phones, calling Crime Stoppers at 1-855-448-8477 (new number) or 1-800-222- 8477, online at, or by following the link on the Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers Facebook page.

Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers accepts tips in 115 different languages and will pay a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest of a criminal, recovery of stolen property, seizure of illegal drugs or guns or denial of a fraudulent insurance claim. Tipsters stay anonymous by using code numbers to check back later and collect their rewards.

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Invisible to Essential – Justice for Janitors campaign



More respect for hard work: Janitors launch campaign demanding better pay and work conditions during COVID-19

The Service Employees International Union Local 2 has launched the Invisible to Essential campaign, calling on property owners, managers and cleaning contractors to work together to make immediate improvements to cleaner’s working conditions. SEIU Local 2 represents more than 10,000 janitors across Canada.

“I have to work even though there is great risk to my own health,” said Vilma Lopez, a janitor working in Burnaby, BC. “We are providing an important service to the public and deserve more respect for our hard work.”

The campaign demands include an immediate $2 per hour raise; keeping cleaners employed during the crisis; and ensuring all cleaners are working safely with the required training and Personal Protect Equipment (PPE).

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many invisible service workers being thrust into the spotlight. Despite this, janitors continue to be amongst the lowest paid and most underappreciated workers in our society. Janitors say every worker needs to earn enough to pay the bills, job protection, and appropriate health safeguards.

Slim Gedeon cleans City Hall in the nation’s capital. “At least now society understands how important and essential we are,” he says. “We are the ones disinfecting to keep our city safe. I am constantly disinfecting elevator buttons, doorknobs and working hard to ensure the virus does not spread.”

Janitors face the triple threats of layoffs, low wages, and health impacts of COVID-19. They ensure our essential workplaces are kept clean, including healthcare facilities, public transportation systems, airports, vital shopping locations, courthouses, morgues, parcel delivery facilities, police stations, office buildings, and more. Janitors will also be deep cleaning our shutdown workplaces to ready them for the return of the public when the time comes. These include the schools, colleges, and universities our children attend.

The janitors’ union has been in contact with employers since the beginning of the crisis, ensuring all required safety measures were being met. Most recently an open letter was delivered addressing the government’s new position on mask-wearing.

“People say that we are important, but do they really treat us that way?” Gedeon wonders. In just a few days, a public petition supporting the janitors’ demands has received over one thousand signatures.

More information can be accessed at: to-essential/

SEIU Local 2 represents janitors in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia.

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