15th annual Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards recognize inclusivity leaders

Awards go to people, businesses and organizations that champion diversity

The 15th annual Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards were held Friday in Abbotsford. Since 2003, community members have nominated businesses, programs, initiatives, schools and leaders that build inclusive communities in Abbotsford, Mission, Langley and Chilliwack.

“Every year it gets harder and harder to pick one winner in each category,” said Manpreet Grewal, director of Multicultural & Immigrant Integration Services at Abbotsford Community Services. “It’s great to see how many local organizations are dedicated to consciously working to promote diversity and inclusion.”


Abbotsford organizations or individuals won three of the seven awards. Robert Bateman School was honored for their art activism class which empowers students to affect change in their community through their artwork. Their 2017 class interviewed refugees and represented their stories through artwork.

The Shoppers Drug Mart store on South Fraser Way (store #2290) was recognized for their inclusive hiring practices and giving career opportunities to immigrants, students and those on disability.

Local resident, Michael Adkins received the Champion of Diversity award for his four decades of service in promoting inclusion through various initiatives including: hiring newcomers with limited English; promoting gender inclusion in Rotary, and welcoming new Canadian citizens in our community.


A local Mission non-profit, Sara for Women, won one of the seven awards. SARA is a feminist organization working with diverse women for the advancement of women. They recognize the systemic nature of oppression and power imbalances in all their forms including class, white-privilege, language, culture, sexual orientation, age, ability, geography, position and others. Their policy-governance structure incorporates opportunities to share power through democratic practices of shared leadership, decision-making, authority and responsibility.

On a practical level, SARA provides housing for vulnerable women who are in crisis, escaping violence, or who are at great risk of being homeless. Their Warm Zone drop-in centre in Abbotsford provides food, shower facilities, support workers and other services to women on the street. They also provide counselling and support groups for women and children.


A local Langley non-profit, Ten Thousand Villages, won one of the seven awards. They were recognized in the Marketing category for their outreach to culturally diverse communities.

Ten Thousand Villages creates opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income through long-term, fair trading relationships. Ten Thousand Villages buys products from close to 100 artisan groups in more than 30 countries and is a non-profit program of Mennonite Central Committee.

Ten Thousand Villages markets themselves in the community by creating an open welcoming space for people of all groups. They give opportunity for people in the community to make a difference on a global scale by helping to support the livelihoods of those who would otherwise have very little options in their life.


Chilliwack organizations or individuals won two of the seven awards. The Domestic Violence team at the Chilliwack Crown Counsel Office was recognized for their work in implementing inclusive policies and actively reaching out to victims of crime. In particular, their office reaches out to Indigenous women; a group which has disproportionately high representation as victims within the criminal justice system. Their office meets with Indigenous women in their community if they are unable to come to the Chilliwack office.

The Little Heroes Hockey Academy also received an award for their innovative initiative in creating an opportunity for children with developmental delays to participate in ice hockey. Since opening in 2017, children with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and other developmental delays have been able to participate in a sport they would normally be excluded from. “We only see abilities” is the mantra they live by, and the children have proven that to be undoubtedly true. The friendships that have been created through the program are as unique and special, as they are rare for most of these kids.


• Inclusive Environment (small-medium organizations) – Chilliwack Crown Counsel Office, Domestic Violence Team (Chilliwack)

• Inclusive Environment (large organizations) – SARA for Women (Mission)

• Marketing – Ten Thousand Villages (Langley)

• Innovative Initiative – Little Heroes Hockey Academy (Chilliwack) & Robert Bateman Secondary – Art Activism Class (Abbotsford)

• Effective Human Resources Strategies – Shoppers Drug Mart #2290, Abbotsford

• Champion of Diversity – Michael Adkins (Abbotsford)


Just Posted

Langley grad in sudden death investigation mom of three

Woman who died under suspicious circumstances in Vernon grew up in Fraser Valley

Township-wide tree bylaw to be determined by future council

Council votes 5-4 in favour of motion by Charlie Fox

Florida school shooting creates emotional response locally

Both Langley RCMP and the school district have seen a heightened concern since tragedy

Two injured in ‘97 shooting at LSS

Risk of school shootings low in Canada, but it has happened here

Lower Mainland could see spring flurries

Snow expected at higher elevations

Vancouver Aquarium’s resident octopus released into ocean

Staff let the Giant Pacific octopus go into the waters near Bowen Island so she can reproduce

Where Canadians buy real estate abroad: report

Hot Spots: Top 30 home-buying destinations for Canadians in the Americas

Ban on grizzly bear hunt, new rules take effect April 1

Taxidermists, tanners will have to report on any grizzly bears or parts brought to them

Ontario father grief stricken over murder of ex-wife and children

‘No words to explain,’ grieving father of slain teens says in statement

Russian Embassy calls Trudeau’s criticism of Putin unproductive

The Russian Embassy is firing back at Trudeau for criticizing President Vladimir Putin

Murder charge upgraded for man accused in Toronto gay village death

Man accused the death of a woman in the Toronto gay village had charge upgraded after new evidence

Former NHL player Theo Fleury visits B.C. First Nations community

Abuse survivor Theo Fleury has been working with communities focusing on healing since 2009 and visited Esketemc First Nation in the Cariboo this week.

City to lobby province after councillor accused of crime refused to resign

Dave Murray was sentenced to nine months for a sexual assault that occurred 26 years ago

Harsher fines, new off-road vehicle rules in effect to combat B.C. wildfires

Anyone who starts a wildfire could be ordered to pay up to $1,000,000

Most Read