Veteran police officer Kal Dosanjh’s KidsPlay Foundation is hosting an event in Surrey that aims to combat racism.(Black Press file photo)

Free ‘Fighting Against Racism’ forum in Surrey this weekend

Organizers say aim of Surrey event is to provide ‘educational insight into the issue to help find definitive solutions’

An event in Surrey this weekend aims to raise awareness and combat racism.

“It’s an issue that’s affecting a lot of youth,” said Kal Dosanjh, a veteran police officer who founded the KidsPlay Foundation, which aims to provide youth with free educational and sports programming to help keep them away from the lifestyle of drugs, gangs and violence.

The KidsPlay-hosted forum on March 25, dubbed Fighting Against Racism, is free and open to the public.

“Some Indo-Canadian youth have experienced (racism), other ethnic and minority groups as well,” Dosanjh told the Now-Leader. “We want to make sure that in the future we’re providing educational awareness on these issues by bringing strong keynote speakers, and bringing educational insight into the issue to help find definitive solutions.

“Unfortunately as of late, there’s been a steady increase in hate crimes,” added Dosanjh. “It seems to be a global movement, a lot of the stuff we’re seeing in Scandinavia, in Norway, Finland and Germany, because of the huge influx of refugees that are coming in…. I think we’re seeing the ripple effects in North America.”

See also: Thousands gather with messages of love, resistance at anti-racism rally

See also: Feds address issues of anti-immigrant sentiment and racism bubbling up at home

Dosanjh said the Fighting Against Racism event will feature speakers from academic, media and historical perspectives.

“We will also have a speaker who helped organize the rallies taking place on March 24 in Vancouver,” he noted, which is part of the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. “You’ll see the problem from a diverse point of view. Through that, we’re hoping it will provide an all-encompassing perspective.” The event will also include a Q&A session with speakers, said Dosanjh, to “flesh the issue out and talk about it, and hopefully come up with solutions.”

But the Surrey event isn’t just about racism, said Dosanjh, noting $2,000 in scholarships will be handed out to kids in attendance.

“It’s a free raffle,” he explained. “Not every kid is an academic, not every kid is going to be an athlete, but every kid deserves an opportunity…. That’s why we make it an equal playing field. Any child who attends has an equal opportunity to win these scholarships.”

Since its inception in 2015, Dosanjh said KidsPlay has seen 40,000 children go through its free events, which “tells you what the appetite is for this kind of programming.”

In the past, the organization has focused on other issues such as women’s empowerment, bullying and mental health.

The Sunday forum is set to begin at 12:30 p.m. at the Royal King Banquet Hall, located at 8158 128th St.

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