Fraser Valley Diversity Awards presented

They're coming to the airwaves with a new radio show offering Polish reggae, and that's the spirit that made UFV's radio station the big local winner in the Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards.

Nehal Azab was the keynote speaker at Friday night's Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards

Nehal Azab was the keynote speaker at Friday night's Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards

They’re coming to the airwaves with a new radio show offering Polish reggae, and that’s the spirit that made UFV’s radio station the big local winner in the Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards.

The awards were held on Friday night at the Ramada Plaza and Conference Centre, honouring businesses, organizations and individuals.

The university’s CIVL radio, which already has Punjabi and Spanish shows, won in the category of marketing and outreach. The radio shows offer both music and talk in the languages, explained station manager Aaron Levy. He is working on a new show in the Halkomelem language that was spoken by the Sto:lo as well as First Nations people on Vancouver Island.

Levy is the only full-time staff member working for the radio station, so it relies heavily on the work of volunteers to offer the cultural programming.

“We take great pains to include people, especially people we feel may be marginalized,” said Levy.

“We need people from diverse backgrounds participating in mainstream society.”

CIVL radio began in 2005, broadcasts at 101.7 FM, and can be heard in Abbotsford and Mission. Levy said Friday was a big night for the fledgeling station.

“We were very excited to be recognized, especially against such stiff competition,” he said. “It’s good the community looks at us as a serious broadcaster.”

Patrons were treated to a buffet of ethnic food at the Ramada, and the music of the band Mariachi Del Sol.

The keynote speaker was Egyptian-born Nehal Azab, a local care provider for mentally ill clients. She recently returned to Cairo to witness the anti-government protests, and ousting of president Hosni Mubarak.

The Diversity Awards are now in their ninth year in Abbotsford. Manpreet Grewal, the manager of multicultural and immigrant services with Abbotsford Community Services, was one of the founders of the awards, and says they are having the desired effect.

“We wanted to have businesses and organizations have this as a challenge, for them to be more inclusive of our changing demographic,” she said. “And we have found that – it has become a motivational thing for people.”

She said local agencies and businesses use the awards to “showcase their diversity,” and more of them are getting involved.

There is room for 400 people, and the $55 dinner event sells out, and there is a waiting list.

“It has been really well received by the community,” said Grewal.

“It’s an evening that brings people together.”

Grewal said plans are already in the works to mark the occasion of the 10th annual Cultural Diversity Awards in a special way next year.

 

 

Award recipients

 

Inclusive Environment: Chilliwack Library

Deeply enshrined in the library’s philosophy is the delivery of universal access and respect for diversity. The library values open access to library services and materials that remove barriers association with education, technology, culture, economics, mental and physical disadvantage.

 

Marketing: Mission Literacy B.U.S.

The Mission Literacy in Motion B.U.S. or Building United Services is a bright green refurbished school bus that travels throughout Mission’s neighbourhoods and surrounding communities assisting people of all ages with access to a host of literacy services. The bus and its band of volunteers make 38 visits to 10 different locations each month during the school year.

 

Outreach: CIVL Radio – UFV

CIVL 101.7 FM is a campus and community radio station at the University of the Fraser Valley, committed to providing alternative broadcasting content to the residents of the Fraser Valley.

 

Reflective Workforce: Loblaw Pharmacy, Chilliwack

Loblaw Pharmacy consists of 10 staff members ranging in age from 17 to 54. Staff originate from Tanzania, India , Korea, El-Salvador, Phillipines, China, Egypt and Iran. Multi-lingual pharmacy staff members assist patients with many services that the pharmacy provides by doing so accurately and efficiently by conversing in their native tongue.

 

Innovative Initiative: Closelook Productions

Close Look Productions is a television show that has been helping the talented multicultural young generation of the Lower Mainland by providing a free platform to showcase their talents and stories on SHAW TV, Channel 4.

 

Champion of Diversity: Inta Schorcht, Langley

Inta Schorcht is an octogenarian born in Northern Europe who immigrated to Canada in 1978 after previously living in nine other countries. For more than three decades she has been teaching ESL, mostly in the Langley area. Last year she organized a four-month exhibit at the Langley Museum showing 14 different immigrant artists.