September 23, 2018

Dinner to Honor Community Elders

  • Bibi Pritam Kaur
  • Mr. Khushi Ram
  • Dr. Setty Pendakur
  • Mr. Charan Gill

Statement by Raj Chouhan, MLA

Published in the BC Legislature, October 3, 2018

Dr. Hari Sharma Foundation organized an event to honour four elders of the South Asian community whose presence and contribution have enriched our lives as a community.

This year the Foundation honoured 92-year-old Bibi Pritam Kaur a farm worker and union activist; 97-year-old Khushi Ram, a Dalit activist and author; Setty Pendakur, academic and former alderman of Vancouver. In those days the City Councilors were used to be called Aldermen, and Charanpal Gill, President of BC Organization to Fight Racism and founder of the Progressive Intercultural Community Services.

In 1980 Bibi Pritam Kaur played a very important role to organize farm workers in Fraser Valley. She never attended a school and never participated in any political movement, however, when she realized the bad working conditions in the fields, she joined the Canadian Farmworkers Union. She organized and led a march against the labour contractors. She refused to be bullied and intimidated by her employer. She helped her fellow farm workers to win back wages and better transportation.

Similarly, Charan Gill played an equally important role to get justice for farm workers. He played a leading role in fighting racism. Later on, Charan founded the Progressive Intercultural Community Services also known as PICS. He started that organization with just $80.00 and today PICS’ annual budget is over $8 million dollars.

None of these individuals did this to get an award, they did this because they knew it was the right thing to do. I salute these Leaders for their passion and commitment to make our society a better place for everyone.

I also thank the Dr. Hari Sharma Foundation for selecting these four individuals and recognizing their work.