Former Kwantlen student organizes gang violence protest rally

February 18, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

As a result of recent gang violence in the Lower Mainland that has been making headlines across Canada, Trevor Loke and Paul Hillsdon are taking action with a rally for peace on Sunday, Feb. 22 at Central City Plaza.

The idea to organize a rally came about when Loke, formerly a Kwantlen student, and Hillsdon were looking for events in the Surrey area that were against gang violence. When they couldn’t find anything, they thought a rally was a good place to start.

The main idea behind this rally is to bring the Surrey community together to show that it will not be divided on the issue of violence. “We will come together, we will show the strength of our spirit and we will accomplish things,” said Loke.

Loke, a Newton residen,t thinks that the media has portrayed Surrey as an unsafe place. “Surrey is a really great place,” said Loke. “It’s not a place where people need to be living in fear.”

Loke is a candidate for the Green Party in the provincial Surrey-Newton riding.

It’s important for students to show up for the rally, he said, because they are the next generation.

The rally will be held at 1 p.m. on Feb. 22 across the street from Surrey Central Sky Train Station. Participants are asked to take banners, posters and noise-maker’s to show support as they march together to Holland Park.

Loke expects more than a couple hundred people to show up to the rally, which is organized along with the RCMP, the City of Surrey and all major political parties.

‘First mourn, then work for change’

December 6, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

A red rose is laid in memory of one of the victims of the Ecole Polytechnic slayings in 1989. (Nick Major photo)

A red rose is laid in memory of one of the victims of the Ecole Polytechnic slayings in 1989. (Nick Major photo)

It was 19 years ago today, but it could easily have been yesterday.

Saturday, Dec. 6, marks the 19th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre, when 14 women were gunned down at the Ecole Polytechnique engineering school in Montreal. Since the early 1990s, that day has been commemorated across the country as National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

Friday, members of the Kwantlen Faculty Association and women’s legal support group West Coast LEAF held a small memorial service in the rotunda of the Richmond campus. Shereen Hassan, chair of the Status of Women Committee of the KFA, began the memorial by calling on everyone to reflect on the continuing issue of violence against women-not just the Montreal Massacre, but also the women missing over the years from the Downtown Eastside.

Hasaan stood behind a table with 14 small tea-light candles and roses, each representing one of the women killed in the Montreal Massacre.   

“The Kwantlen Faculty Association’s message at these memorials is ‘First Mourn, then Work for Change,’” Hassan read to the small crowd, as she then encouraged those present to consider volunteering at places such as a women’s group and transition house or women’s centre, or to support charities that help battered women.

Hasaan was joined by Deanna Ogle and Amanda Macgregor, members of the women’s legal support group WestCoast LEAF, during the candle-lighting ceremony.

The 14 roses on display outnumbered the small audience, however. Only eight people stopped to take part in the ceremony, with most holding two roses each.

Similar memorials were held simultaneously at the Surrey and Langley campuses, and Thursday at the Cloverdale campus.