Prachi Khanna emerged as the winner of January Marie Lapuz Youth Leadership Award. (Submitted photo)

Surrey residents make it big in January Marie Lapuz Youth Leadership Award

Award given out by Sher Vancouver recognizes people making a difference in LGBT community

SURREY — Three Surrey residents are among the recipients of this year’s January Marie Lapuz Youth Leadership award given out by Sher Vancouver.

Surrey’s Prachi Khanna, 18, grabbed the top spot and $500 prize. Khanna is known as the driving force in facilitating consultations with students and the administration in her school community for an all-student washroom.

“For all those South Asian kids who may not be in a safe environment, hang in there, things will happen and things will change,” Khanna said. “You did what matters to you and you did not give in to the fear.”

Khanna is known for the volunteering work within the community including organizing SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) awareness campaigns.

The annual award and the prize money issued is based on the applicants involvment within the community, both locally and internationally. The award given out in honour of Lapuz is on merit and if two applicants are tied, the committee looks at their social adversity.

Erjon Tela and Ran Ya Chib are two of the runner-ups who live in Surrey. Tela, a recent immigrant was one of the organizers of the first gay pride in Albania and trained students of the country’s police academy on LGBT issues.

According to Alex Sangha, the founder of Sher Vancouver, some of the applicants are in difficult situations with their sexuality rejected by their families and are living in foster care.

Lapuz, who passed away in 2012, was an immigrant from the Philippines and was a transgender. Sangha said that her loss was hard for the group and devastated them.

“We are very happy to remember January this way,” Sangha said. “She had a really tough life but on the outside, she had a bright spirit.”

Sher Vancouver is a non-profit society for LGBT South Asians, their friends, families and allies. It will mark its 10th anniversary in April 2018.

More to come.



yogesh.bala@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Yogesh on Twitter

Just Posted

City Dream Centres hands out 1,000 backpacks at back to school event in Surrey

This is the fifth year the charity is hosting the event in the city

Securing Olympic spot the latest test for Canadian softball squad at Surrey tournament

Softball hasn’t been included in the Games since 2008 when Canada finished fourth in Beijing

UPDATE: Two men injured in north Surrey shooting

Police say the incident was targeted, may be linked to drug activity

White Rock RCMP seeking information about Aug. 16 assault

Man in 60s was injured around same time Paul Prestbakmo was stabbed to death

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. VIEWS: Pipelines set to roll as federal politicians posture

Projects to drive B.C., Canadian economy in years ahead

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Border crossings across Lower Mainland seeing lengthy delays

Sumas, Peace Arch and Surrey-Blaine border crossings seeing long wait times

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Most Read