JOIN US!! We welcome you to join us on Saturday, October 23rd at 6:30pm for an intimate evening of personal stories, a silent auction, guest speakers, prizes and more!
Our focus this year is, “From Newcomer to Neighbour.” Especially given the last year and a half, we want to highlight the importance of being a neighbour and celebrate the diversity and strength that community brings when we are all included.
We want you to enjoy the evening, pour a glass of wine, and be a part of a wonderful opportunity to come alongside the work of Umoja!
We would like to thank our event sponsors:
- Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Tickets by donation, whatever the heart can give!
To purchase tickets please visit our event page: umojavirtualgala2021.eventbrite.com
PLEASE NOTE: The event ZOOM link will be sent out the week of the gala to all registered attendees. We look forward to seeing you!
Some 360,000 people in Afghanistan have been uprooted from their homes by conflict since January, and an additional 30,000 are reportedly fleeing the country each day. Afghanistan has already produced the second-largest displaced population in the world, after Syria, and this number is expected to rise.
Over the years, Umoja has opened wide our arms and our doors to Afghan families and we will continue to be a place of hope, safety and support for any newcomers arriving from Afghanistan as well as other parts of the world where individuals and families have no option but to flee their homes.
In an effort to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan, the Canadian Government has announced the resettlement of up to 20,000 vulnerable Afghan nationals to Canada. The Canadian government has responded to this crisis with the following statement: “Offering refuge to the world’s most vulnerable speaks to who we are as Canadians, particularly in times of crisis. As more Afghan refugees continue to seek shelter in Canada, we’re redoubling our efforts to help 20,000 Afghans refugees—who remain vulnerable wherever they go—find safety here. The situation in Afghanistan is heartbreaking, and Canada will not stand idly by…Canadians are deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan….Afghans have put their lives at great risk to support Canada in helping Afghans achieve significant democratic, human rights, education, health and security gains over the past twenty years. We owe them a debt of gratitude and we will continue our efforts to bring them to safety.”
If you are interested in partnering together with Umoja to welcome and support newcomers, please send us an email or contact our office.
Umoja Operation Compassion Society of British Columbia was founded in 2002 with a mission to help refugees and immigrants adjust to life in Canada. Adjusting to life in a new country, a new language and new cultural norms, can be challenging. Umoja has become an advocate and a support system for many families. Providing education and a sense of community via the delivery of unique, diverse programs and initiatives, Umoja strives to guide newcomers to integrate and contribute to a healthy society.
On behalf of our board of directors, we would like to affirm our support and stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement; a movement that has become a voice for Black, Indigenous, people of colour and marginalized groups globally.
Systemic racism represents one of the many challenges that our clients at Umoja face. Racist or unfair treatment comes in many forms: stereotyping, lowered expectations within school systems and workplaces, bullying and harassment by peers and those in authority, misunderstanding and mistreatment by social services and within the justice system, police racial profiling, targeting young adults in minority communities, affordable housing availability that fails to accommodate differently structured families, and workplace discrimination, to name a few. These challenges cannot be dismissed. They create an environment of mistrust amongst communities and highlight the relevance of the Black Lives Matter movement to us, here in Canada. With that said, Umoja strongly believes that Canada has the potential to take a lead in dismantling systemic racism, making the world more equitable and sustainable for all.
Umoja does not support defunding the police in Surrey. We believe that, in order to restore trust between law enforcement and the community, police recruitment and training should be enhanced to represent communities being policed. This could be achieved by hiring more police officers that belong to a minority or marginalized group and engaging officers in cultural diversity and inclusion training.
In addition, we believe that community resources (delivered through non-profits and charities) are equally crucial to the health and wellness of a community. Organizations like Umoja advocate for marginalized peoples, create understanding between communities, provide education, strive to reduce poverty, address trauma and mental illness, address unemployment, and work to mitigate situations that should not be a policing issue.
Umoja represents the people who have been called stateless, refugee, immigrant, alien, newcomer, and more. It is not what they are called, it is what they have lived through and yet still holding onto their dreams and aspirations. Some people chose Canada, arriving full of dreams to the paradise they were told they would find. Others were sent to Canada as a result of the conflict in their home land. Once in Canada, and introduced to the Canadian way of life, they can regain hope for their future. Umoja stands with these people and aids them through their journey, one that could take years and could transcend generations.
There is much left to do until we achieve full equality, respect, and support for all. We would like to thank our funders, and partners, who have and continue to support our organization. It is because of their support that we are able to make lasting impacts on our community. However, more can be done. We call on the support of all levels of government; Federal, Provincial and Municipal, along with private corporations and individuals to invest, engage and work more closely with the charities and non-profit organizations serving marginalized communities and minority groups. Addressing the important issues of systemic racism, can help create a more vibrant, empowered, equitable, sustainable city, province and country.