Nick Cooper is heavily involved with inclusion and diversity groups in Canada but he faces deportation due to membership in extremist groups in England in the 1990s. (Change.org)

B.C. man faces deportation for membership in hate groups in England in 1990s

Friends rally to support Nick Cooper who is now a vocal advocate for diversity and inclusion

Eighteen years ago, Nick Cooper had a maternity ward conversion from hatemonger to lover of inclusivity.

Once member of racist extremist groups in London, England, Cooper is now part of a group called Life After Hate, he’s involved with Cycling4Diversity, and more locally, a Facebook group called Inclusion Chilliwack.

And earlier this month a Tweet of Cooper’s went viral around the world after he painted over a swastika adorned with racist language under a bridge at Eagle Landing. That Tweet received more than 350,000 likes in just four days.

• READ MORE: Chilliwack man’s Tweet about painting over racist graffiti goes viral

But despite what seems like almost two decades of penance for mistakes he made in the 1990s, those choices are coming back to haunt him in the form of a possible deportation via the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

His friends are rallying around him hoping he is judged on the man he is today rather than who he used to be.

“After hearing Nick’s story and knowing him personally for the past year, I would be incredibly saddened to see Nick deported,” said friend Stacey Wakelin. “What inspires me most about Nick is his capacity to remain true to his mission in life – to share kindness and to drown out hate. The mistakes made while he was young are being used to make this country a better place.”

On Monday, Cycling4Diversity executive director Anne-Marie Sjoden started a “Keep Nick Cooper in Canada” petition via Change.org with a goal of reaching 500 signatures. By Wednesday at noon it had 300.

“According to friends, his immigration issues stem from some choices he made back in the early 1990s, when he was involved with a hate group that had ties to planned terror plots,” the petition reads. “Nick Cooper has been trying to make a better life for himself and his family. He has been doing public speaking on his past life and how he regrets his life as a member of a Hate group.”

Cooper’s change of heart came when his wife was in labour in 2000 in England. As a racist at the time, he didn’t want any non-white hospital staff helping them.

But there was trouble with the birth and his wife had to go for an emergency C-section. That’s when the lives of his wife and daughter were saved by a doctor of Indian descent and an Afro-Caribbean nurse.

He apologized to the nurse who he had been very rude to, and she brought him a cup of tea.

“That little bit of compassion that she showed me when I least deserved it, it just changed my entire life,” Cooper said.

“Now I’m trying me best to bring light out of darkness. Because that was a very dark time in my life. My message is, don’t do that because it it’s wrong. Everyone deserves to live a life in safety.”

His immigration status now in question thanks to mistakes me made in the 1990s, Cooper and his friends just hope Canada will let him stay.

“Nick uses his story to educate our youth and illustrate the destructive impact hate or discrimination has on society,” Wakelin said. “I do not believe that the mistakes Nick made as an angry 20-year-old man, warrant his deportation today.”

“He has more than earned it and wants to make it right,” Cycling4Diversity founder Ken Herar said on Facebook. “Second chances are important in life.”


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP issue arrest warrant for suspect in Sheraton hotel stabbing

Police say Malcolm Drydgen faces an aggravated assault charge, and it’s believed he’s in the Lower Mainland or Alberta

ELECTION QUESTIONS: Is Surrey safer than it was four years ago?

Who has the best plan to fight crime in Surrey? That’s for voters to decide on Oct.20

LETTER: We are looking to wrong source for public safety in Surrey

We really need to ask how we might defund police and properly fund community resources

Man wanted in connection with attack on taxi driver in Surrey

Assault happened Aug. 8 in the 13200-block of 105A Ave.

Cessford says Delta not ready for legal cannabis

Mayoral candidate and former police chief says public consultation is needed to make civic policies

VIDEO: Rare close encounter with whale pod spotted off B.C. waters

Pod of southern resident orca whales breach within arms length of whale watchers

Premier John Horgan ponders debate on voting system changes

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson wants one-on-one, no Green

Saganash drops F-bomb in Commons over federal approach to Trans Mountain

NDP’s reconciliation critic accused federal government of ‘wilfully’ violating constitutional duties

VIDEO: B.C. dairy farmer says Trump doesn’t understand the industry

‘They need supply management just as bad as we need to keep it’: sixth generation farmer Devan Toop

VIDEO: Death threat, racist comments spewed over empty seat on B.C. bus

Transit Police are investigating the incident, shared online by fellow passengers on Vancouver bus

Man faces 8 charges after Vancouver carjacking, pepper-spray attacks

Jesse William Swain has been charged with assault with a weapon, robbery and dangerous driving

Sister of plane crash victim that went missing in B.C. starting support network

Tammy Neron wants to help families who are searching for missing people

‘Hello, 911? There’s a horse in my living room’

Sproat Lake firefighters called to ‘rescue’ quarter-horse from Alberni Valley house

Assault charge withdrawn vs. ex-Jays pitcher Roberto Osuna

Former Toronto player agrees to peace bond

Most Read