THE South Asian Community Coalition Against Youth Violence (SACCAYV) has been working for more than 12 years to address the issues of youth violence, gangs, and drugs in the community. Its main objectives have been to support and advocate for various programs intended to assist families and youth in making positive life choices.
An August 5 meeting of SACCAYV’s steering committee resulted in a plan to host a forum that would include representatives from all of the Metro Vancouver’s Sikh temples, and those who work with youth and families, including psychologists, social workers, counselors and other professionals.
The event, planned for October 2014, will engage participants in a dialogue to examine the intersectionality between family dysfunction and youth gang violence. The objective of the forum will be to develop a strategy to empower youth and strengthen families within the community.
The SACCAYV feels there are many challenges which our youth and their families experience. Balwant Sanghera, chair of SACCAYV and retired school psychologist, said that the South Asian community must acknowledge and tackle the issues of violence, both within the home and outside of it.
He said: “As our community has grown so have the problems. Youth and domestic violence are just some of these problems. We must collectively, as individuals and as a community, take the responsibility and ownership to address these issues head on. The community leadership, particularly my fellow male members, need to work together to ensure that our youth and families enjoy a safe, healthy and happy environment. This can best be accomplished by empowering our youth and strengthening our families.”
SACCAYV is a community-based organization which aims to prevent and reduce youth gang violence in the South Asian community. Members include representatives from various local Sikh temples and individual from the South Asian community, academic institutions, community organizations, Vancouver Police and RCMP.
Photo: SACCAYV steering committee members met August 5: Ninu Kang (Director, Development and Communications for MOSAIC), Rubina Mudhar (Special Projects Coordinator, Specialized Programs, Settlement and Family Services for MOSAIC) Balwant Sanghera, (Chair of SACCAYV) and community activist), Gira Bhatt, (Principal Investigator / Director of the Acting Together-Community University Research Alliance project at KPU), Indira Prahst, (Chair, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Langara College) and Chain Singh Batth (President of India Cultural Center of Canada).