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2024 Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards presented in 6 categories

Annual event recognizes recipients from Abbotsford, Mission, Chilliwack and Hope
Recipients of the 2024 Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards are (from left) Lindsay Steffich representing Tourism Mission, Ishi Sharma, Mike Faux of Hippie Mike Industries, GulRukh Zeeshan accepting on behalf of her husband Zeeshan Khan, and Jesse Wegenast of Sparrow Community Care Society. Missing is a representative from the Chilliwack Film Society. (Submitted photo)

Almost 400 guests attended the 21st annual Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards on Thursday (March 7) in Abbotsford to see six individuals and organizations honoured.

The awards were presented at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Centre. Recipients from Abbotsford, Hope, Mission and Chilliwack were recognized.

Archway Community Services presents the annual event in partnership with the Mission and Chilliwack Community Services as well as the Langley New Directions English Language School.

Returning MC Fred Lee congratulated the more than 50 nominees.

“The 2024 nominees truly represent all areas of diversity, from gender equality to race, ethnicity, age, religion, sexual orientation, abilities and social economic background,” he said.

Augusta Gladstone of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation – who was a nominee in the category of Adult Champion of Diversity – gave the land acknowledgement and performed her Uncle Frank’s song for survivors.

Abbotsford Mayor Ross Siemens noted that Abbotsford is one of the most diverse communities in Canada.

RELATED: 2023 Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards presented in 8 categories

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“The variety of perspectives, experiences and conditions that are found here serve to enrich all of us,” he said. “There is a lot of the divisiveness and intolerance in our world, but events like this prove that we can use diversity as a uniting force.”

Kelly Khakh spoke on behalf of the Speaker Sponsor Prospera to introduce the keynote speaker Sally Armstrong, an award-winning author, journalist and human rights activist who spoke virtually.

Armstrong’s speech focused on gender and women’s accomplishments on the eve of International Women’s Day.

Manpreet Grewal, director of multicultural and immigrant integration services at Archway Community Services , thanked the sponsors, production team and the organizing committee.

Those who missed the live show can watch it air on Sunday, March 17 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 31 at 8 p.m. on Shaw Multicultural Channel 4 (and 901) Vancouver.

Nominations for next year’s event can be submitted at


• Zeeshan Khan, Champion of Diversity

Khan was recognized for his role in the development and leadership of various community projects, including food hampers, meal distribution and more. He is also the co-founder of the Chilliwack-based Streams Foundation, a local volunteer-based non-profit organization.

• Ishi Sharma, Youth Champion of Diversity

Sharma is a Grade 12 student who has worked to create an inclusive environment through her leadership roles within Student Voice at Yale Secondary in Abbotsford and establishment of the “EDI for Youth” awareness campaign.

• Sparrow Community Care Society, Effective Human Resources Strategies

Sparrow Community Care Society in Abbotsford runs B.C.’s first homeless shelter specifically for older adults and was recognized for their diverse staff group which allows them to better connect with their residents. The executive director is Jesse Wegenast.

• Tourism Mission, Innovative Initiative

Tourism Mission was recognized for creating a more vibrant travel experience with their Enchroma Colorblind Initiative, which loans free glasses.

• Hippie Mike Industries Inc., Inclusive Environment

The indoor skate park in Hope has a mission to create fully inclusive all-ages events where participants are able to learn from one another.

• Chilliwack Film Society, Diversity in Marketing

The Chilliwack Film Society is a non-profit responsible for running the annual Chilliwack Independent Film Festival and the Abbotsford Film Festival. Their mission is to provide a platform for a diverse range of voices to be heard whilst also helping emerging filmmakers and artists get a start in the industry.

Abbotsford News Staff

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