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NDP says it will build a South Asian museum in Surrey

Media event held Tuesday at park in Newton
Dancers perform at the Museum of Surrey during the opening of “Being Punjabi: Unfolding the Surrey Story” exhibit in October 2019. (File photo: Malin Jordan)

The BC NDP says it will build a museum devoted to B.C.’s South Asian history in Surrey.

The election promise was made Tuesday morning (Oct. 20) at R.A. Nicholson Park in Newton.

“It is an honour to announce that a re-elected NDP government will build the first ever museum dedicated to the South Asian Canadian community in B.C.,” Jinny Sims, NDP candidate for Surrey-Panorama, said in a news release posted online.

“The South Asian community has played a critical role in B.C.’s history, and it’s time to recognize that contribution.”

An exact location for the museum is not determined, with public consultation to come – “not only about what the museum should look like but also where it will be,” said Sims, who was joined by other local NDP candidates at Tuesday’s announcement.

“Definitely there will be a wide-ranging consultation with the South Asian community right across the province.”

The museum would “document the history, art and contributions of South Asian people in B.C.,” according to a BC NDP news release. “This project will bring together resources, documents, artifacts and stories that are scattered across museums and libraries across the province, as well as in private collections.”

In September, the provincial government announced $1.14 million for a project through the South Asian Studies Institute (SASI) at University of the Fraser Valley with support from the Abbotsford Community Foundation.

The money will be used for Haq and History: A Punjabi Canadian Legacy Project (PCLP), which showcases the past and current contribution of the Punjabi community to B.C.

In the fall of 2019, the Museum of Surrey opened a new exhibit called Being Punjabi: Unfolding the Surrey Story, which shined a light on the history of Surrey’s Punjabi community. This month, the British Columbia Museums Association (BCMA) recognized the work the museum put into Being Punjabi by awarding them the “Excellence in Community Engagement Award” and the “BCMA People’s Choice Award – Outstanding Exhibit.”

CLICK HERE to read more about those awards.

Tuesday’s announcement in Newton was made near Komagata Maru Way, “recognizing the long legacy of systemic racism in British Columbia and the work we all must do to combat anti-racist policies.”

• RELATED STORY: ‘Clear example of racism’: Story of stranded ship passengers told on new storyboard in Surrey.

Tom Zillich

About the Author: Tom Zillich

I cover entertainment, sports and news stories for the Surrey Now-Leader, where I've worked for more than half of my 30-plus years in the newspaper business.
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