The new book Abbotsford – A Diverse Tapestry will be launched in a virtual event on June 29. (Submitted photo)

The new book Abbotsford – A Diverse Tapestry will be launched in a virtual event on June 29. (Submitted photo)

New book celebrates Abbotsford’s diverse history

Abbotsford – A Diverse Tapestry launches on June 29

A new book presents some of the histories and biographies of the people that make up Abbotsford’s diverse social and cultural tapestry and share different perspectives on city history.

Abbotsford – A Diverse Tapestry celebrates a virtual launch on Tuesday, June 29 at 7 p.m. The book will be sold at The Reach Gallery Museum for $35, with proceeds going to the Abbotsford Community Foundation, specifically for at-risk youth.

The book was written by a group of local storytellers, who hope their work contributes to the kind of education and learning that will nurture empathy and unity.

A Diverse Tapestry captures many of Abbotsford’s stories, but the work to document and share them has just begun, says editor Robert Martens.

He said the Fraser Valley became home to waves of immigrants, who were also sometimes refugees.

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The book follows the emergence of these new communities: the South Asians, who arrived in the Valley even before 1900, looking for new opportunities and finding them, despite ongoing racism from European settlers; the Mennonites, fleeing desperate conditions in the totalitarian Soviet Union and adapting to a strange new culture; the Japanese, stripped of their lands and possessions during the Second World War but reacting with dignity and strength; and the Hungarian refugees forced from home and heritage by a government with no notion of what freedom might mean.

“This book tells the stories of many other communities that have shaped, and continue to shape, the diverse tapestry that is Abbotsford. A Diverse Tapestry is incomplete, of course, since there are many other stories waiting to be told. Regrettably, there are gaps. The project of telling our story will, and must, continue,” Martens said.

Lemxyaltexw Chief Dalton Silver of Semá:th First Nation endorses the project: “I believe it’s history-making in itself to have the Indigenous Peoples and some of our perspectives included in a book such as this. It’s been too long that our history has gone untold and I’m very grateful that some is included here.”

Every book purchase will be entered in a draw to win the original artwork by Linda Klippenstein used on the book cover.

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