COLUMN: Record number of entries for student essay contest

Many celebrations have taken place this past month, celebrating our local cultural landscape.

  • Nov. 9, 2013 5:00 a.m.

Diversity by Ken Herar

Many celebrations have taken place this past month, celebrating our local cultural landscape. Diwali, which was just celebrated this past week at many locations, homes and throughout the globe, was also recognized in Mission with festivities Oct. 29 at Clarke Theatre, and in Abbotsford at Abbotsford Community Library, last weekend. Speaking with Balbir Gill, he said, “We estimated at least 1,200 people came for the event and it was great to expose the library.”

Diwali has grown locally to become a mainstream community occasion and it’s celebrated in schools, workplaces and residences. I recall when celebrations were held in classrooms, and now thousands of people attend the annual event.

The traditions of Diwali, known as the “festival of lights,” are a tribute to the ancient tale of good triumphing over evil. People light small lamps and display fireworks to celebrate the occasion worldwide.

The province of B.C. recently proclaimed Oct. 11 as “Every Girl Matters Day” to coincide with the United Nations’ “Day of the Girl.” Deesh Sekhon of GirlKIND said, “I personally think that this proclamation sends a strong message throughout B.C. and Canada and even the rest of the world. As a province, who believes in equal rights and opportunities for girls. A province that stands up to injustices that girls face in their own local backyards, as well as our global backyards.”

After visiting eight schools with members from the Cycling4Diversity team and Hawkey from the Abbotsford Heat, the Abbotsford News Diversity Challenge School Essay and Colouring Contest deadline is tomorrow. Entries can be emailed to Both contests can be picked up at the Abbotsford News and the 300-word essay question is: What does multiculturalism mean to you and your family?

The essay is open to middle school children and the colouring is for elementary school children only.

So far, we have had a record number of entries and judging will take place in the coming weeks. All winners will be notified when results are finalized.

Mission’s Ken Herar writes weekly on diversity issues.