Gurpreet Singh: Antiracism educator and activist Annie Ohana seeks NDP nomination to run for Parliament

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      Annie Ohana needs no introduction.

      A teacher in Surrey, she's a recipient of a Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence and this year’s B.C. Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Award winner.  

      She has already proved her credentials as a strong voice for human rights and social justice.

      Now, she is seeking to become the New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate in Fleetwood–Port Kells. 

      Ohana, founder of a youth social-justice program called Mustang Justice, has already received approval from the party to run for the nomination.

      The seat is held by Liberal MP Ken Hardie, who was first elected in 2015 in the Trudeau landslide.

      If elected, Ohana has lot to bring on table in these depressing times of growing racism and bigotry. Being Jewish herself, she understands what it means to be a minority and how to deal with the threat of white supremacy.  

      She has been at the forefront of rallies and demonstrations against alt-right movements and has been a strong critic of those who attacked NDP leader Jagmeet Singh because of his Sikh background.

      When Singh was running in Burnaby South, Ohana vigorously campaigned for him to counter negative propaganda fro right-wing groups.

      She sees a common connection between the persecution of the Jewish community and the Sikhs.

      Ohana has repeatedly drawn parallels between the the November 1984 anti-Sikh massacre in India and Kristallnacht—or the night of broken windows—when violence against Jews broke out on November 9, 1938, following the assassination of a German diplomat in Paris by a teenage Polish Jew.

      The Sikh pogram of 1984 followed the assassination of Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards.

      In both instances, innocent Jews and Sikhs were attacked by state-sponsored mobs.

      Ohana has reminded her students that the two tragedies have lot in common. She therefore knows how to make cross-cultural connections between different ethnic groups, which is one reason why she has many admirers within the Sikh community.

      She frequently goes on community radio stations to speak her mind about these sensitive issues.

      Most importantly, Ohana is passionate about the rights of the Palestinian people who are being oppressed by the Jewish state of Israel and has never pulled punches while criticizing the barbarity of Israeli forces.

      Unlike so many others in the political world, she dares to stand up for the underdog.

      Gurpreet Singh is cofounder of Radical Desi magazine and Indians Abroad for Pluralist India.

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