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A teacher at L.A. Matheson Secondary is among five people selected to receive a 2019 B.C. Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Award.
Annie Ohana was one of two winners in the 'Individuals over 30' category of the awards, intended to honour those addressing racism and promoting multiculturalism.
Seven years ago, Ohana founded Mustang Justice, a youth social justice leadership program at the school that aims to empower youth and give them a strong, positive and compassionate voice in the community. Led by students in Grades 8-12, the program supports cultural revitalization projects, interfaith dialogue and the protection of cultures facing oppression. They engage in a variety of activities throughout the year, such as organizing Indigenous Week celebrations, providing welcome packages for refugees and participating in culturally diverse and inclusive events.
Award recipients, who were nominated by members of the public, received a trophy and certificate at a ceremony on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (March 21).
"I applaud each of you for your leadership in fostering inclusiveness, understanding and mutual respect," said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. "The work you are doing to fight hatred and promote multiculturalism is making life better for everyone in B.C."
Ravi Kahlon, Parliamentary Secretary for Multiculturalism and Sport, said the province is at a "critical moment" in history, noting acts of hatred and racism are increasing.
"We must stand together against those who seek to divide us and recognize that we each have the power to create a more inclusive society for everyone," said Kahlon. "The exemplary people recognized by these awards are creating the change that we need for a more just and inclusive society."
Ohana, colleague Gurpreet Bains and the Mustang Justice program were also honoured last year with the inaugural Mayor's Award for Fostering Civic Responsibility.
The full list of Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Award winners is available here.