Charan Gill was the founder and former CEO of Progressive Intercultural Community Services, or PICS.

Charan Gill was the founder and former CEO of Progressive Intercultural Community Services, or PICS.

Wing of Gill’s ‘dream project’ with PICS to bear his name in Cloverdale

‘Lest we forget a legend,’ Surrey-based organization says following Gill’s death Feb. 2

Surrey’s Progressive Intercultural Community Services (PICS) Society has quickly moved to honour the work and legacy of Charanpal (Charan) Gill, founder and former CEO of the non-profit.

A wing of Gill’s “dream project,” Guru Nanak Diversity Village in Cloverdale, will bear the name of the community worker and social activist, who died Tuesday (Feb. 2) at Langley Memorial Hospital following a battle with cancer. He was 84.

“Lest we forget a legend,” PICS stated. “Mr. Gill was a great human being imbued with extraordinary qualities of head and heart and it was his vision and able leadership that became a driving force behind PICS Society. His tireless efforts made PICS develop into a major community organization in the Lower Mainland offering multiple programs and services to the community, including language and settlement services, employment programs, housing for seniors, second stage transition home for immigrant women, training, and programs for women and youth.”

Guru Nanak Diversity Village will be a “revolutionary” facility located near the corner of 64th Avenue and 176th Street. The 125-bed project aims to give seniors “culturally sensitive care services” in a three-storey structure.

• RELATED PHOTOS/STORY, from 2018: PICS gala raises $100K to build seniors village in Cloverdale.

“We also urge the community to help turn into reality Mr. Gill’s dream project, Guru Nanak Diversity Village, by supporting PICS in realizing the target to fundraise the initial $5 million to launch it,” PICS stated. “This initiative, envisioned by Mr. Gill as a futuristic community need, will be another milestone in PICS’s endeavour to ensure that our seniors are able to receive Long-Term Complex Care in a culturally sensitive environment.”

(Story continues below video)

• READ MORE, from 2016: PICS Diversity Village in Surrey will fill ‘critical’ need in seniors care.

PICS will also honour Gill with a plaque at the organization’s head office in Newton, will commemorate him with awards during fundraising galas and also create “a virtual memorial” for him online at pics.bc.ca.

In addition to his days with PICS since the organization was launched in 1987, the Hong Kong-born Gill earned several awards as a co-founder of the Canadian Farm Workers Union and the British Columbia Organization to Fight Racism, among other community work he did for seniors, immigrants, youth and the working poor.

• OBITUARY: Charan Gill, founder of Surrey’s PICS and champion of farmers, was ‘a living legend’

Gill is survived by his three children and their spouses Jack Gill and Amrit, Paul Gill and Sarbjit, Rani Gill and Peter; his grandchildren Sean, Brandon, Alicia, Jovin, Arjun; great grandchild Robin, and his extended family in BC as well as in the U.K., Hong Kong and India.

A family funeral, limited due to COVID-19, will be held at Riverside Funeral Home in Delta. A Celebration of Life for Charan Gill will be held at a later date, the family says.

Meantime, SurreyCares Community Foundation has given an Emergency Community Support Fund grant of $32,883 to PICS in support of Harmony House, a transition house for immigrant women and children fleeing domestic violence.

The funding aims to address the impact of social isolation, exacerbated by the pandemic, for such women. “To decrease social isolation with residents at Harmony House, this funding will be used towards hiring two additional staff, delivering in-house wellbeing programs and delivering wellbeing tools/supplies,” according to a SurreyCares news release.

COVID-19 has caused a surge in domestic violence, and in Surrey, an increase in the number of immigrant women needing to flee dangerous situations, say operators of Harmony House. “Immigrant women who flee a violent or entrapment situation at home do so against all cultural norms. It’s a frightening, difficult, and stressful time,” says the SurreyCares release.

“These women are discouraged to leave and receive little support from their community – their choice is to either run away from everything they know or stay and continue to be abused,” said Manpreet Gill, PICS’ assistant program co-ordinator. “Most leave because they fear for their safety and that of their children. Once they leave, these women end up feeling alone and isolated because they have lost their support networks. Now this already insurmountable social isolation has been exacerbated by the mandated isolation policies due to the pandemic.”



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

High winds Friday made perfect conditions for kite-surfers near the White Rock Pier. (Aaron Hinks photo)
PHOTOS: Kite-surfers take flight near White Rock Pier

Aerial performance put on near iconic waterfront attraction

B.C. researchers are asking for the public’s help in monitoring the bat population. (Cathy Koot photo)
Semiahmoo Peninsula residents asked to monitor bat activity

Researchers keeping eye on spread of white-nose syndrome

White Rock City Hall (Peace Arch News photo)
City of White Rock seeking input on draft financial plan

Plan includes tax rate increase of 4.28 per cent

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Feb. 28

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

(Black Press - file photo)
WEATHER: Enjoy the sun today, prepare for a week of rain

Clouds and rain to arrive by evening, Environment Canada forecasts

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Alina Durham, mother of Shaelene Bell, lights candles on behalf of Bell’s two sons during a vigil on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO and PHOTOS: Candlelight vigil for missing Chilliwack woman sends message of hope

Small group of family, friends gathered to shine light for 23-year-old mother Shaelene Bell

Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Approximate location of the vehicle incident. (Google Maps)
Vehicle incident blocking Coquihalla traffic in both directions

Both directions of traffic stopped due to vehicle incident

Most Read