JR LaRose, a former BC Lions player and Grey Cup winner, will be the keynote speaker at the 17th annual Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards on Thursday, March 12 in Abbotsford.
LaRose is a member of the One Arrow First Nation and overcame a rough childhood.
His father was deported to Nigeria before he was born, and his mother, a residential school survivor, struggled with addiction.
Starting to play football at age 15 was the catalyst for a new life for LaRose. After nine seasons with the Canadian Football League, including five with the BC Lions, he retired and now speaks on his story of redemption across Canada.
The Cultural Diversity Awards, taking place at the Quality Hotel and Conference Centre, recognize organizations and individuals that embrace diversity and inclusion in the community.
This year, there are 70 nominees up for the six different award categories. The evening will feature an ethnically diverse dinner buffet, entertainment and remarks from emcee Fred Lee, Vancouver’s “Man About Town.
Archway Community Services presents the event in partnership with the Mission and Chilliwack Community Services as well as the Langley New Directions English Language School.
Previous winners have been businesses, programs, initiatives, schools and leaders that work towards building an inclusive community, providing their clients and customers with accessible environments, and having workforces reflective of their community.
Past speakers at the awards night have talked about various forms of cultural diversity, including from abilities, ethnicity, gender, age, race, religion, sexual orientation or socio-economic background.
Tickets are available online at diversityawards.ca or by calling 604-308-5673.