AN outreach program, themed “Protecting Peace and Preventing Drug Violence” against drugs and violence in Surrey was organized at Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran Sahib in Surrey on Sunday. Hundreds attended to listen to powerful speakers and deliberate about the issue.
The recent shootings in Surrey have shaken the Surrey community and the gurdwara feels responsible to proactively engage with the public in stopping this senseless violence. It is a campaign to educate our community about the dangers of exposure to drugs and to encourage them to take action to protect them. The emphasis of the program was to discuss and to find solutions to prevent intervene and suppress drugs and violence in the community.
Passionate speakers from all walks of the community presented their perspective about the drug violence in Surrey. Detective Jag Khosa of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit -British Columbia shared his experiences of dealing with those involved in the drug violence. He laid emphasis on the fact that there is a ‘code of silence’ among South Asian families when it comes to acceptance that one of theirs is involved in drug-related crime. He stressed that “this culture needs to change.” The community should become more candid in addressing the issue before the situation becomes worse.
Surrey RCMP Constable Sanj Sidhu shared his experience of being the first responder in scenarios where he saw someone die in drug-related violence. He stressed the need for parents to spend quality time with children as opposed to providing them money for materialistic pursuits. He urged parents to “please spend more time with your children” as that could prevent them from getting involved with gangs.
Dr. Gira Bhatt, psychology professor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University who has done gang violence-related research, spoke about the case of a mother who was actually relieved to know that her son would be going to jail and hence not get killed on the streets.
The most heart-wrenching address was by Eileen Mohan, a mother who lost her son, Chris Mohan, in the Surrey Six murders for no fault of hers. She warned those who were involved in such violence that the community will not tolerate such acts and that all violence should be done away with.
Other speakers such as Mufti Asim Rashid and Moe Bhatha echoed the same thoughts and strongly urged the community to work towards a solution to get rid of such violence. Harpreet Singh, Conservative Party candidate in Surrey Newton informed the gathering of the tough laws introduced by the Conservative government and asked the public to support the laws so that the community could be made safer.
The leadership taken by Giani Narinder Singh of Gurdwara Dukh Niwaran Sahib, Harpreet Singh, Global Girl Power and Gur Sobha Foundation was complimented for their efforts in organizing the solution-oriented discussion forum.
(Article and photos contributed)