Interview Series

Imtiaz Popat

Imtiaz Popat is an equal rights activist, community worker and a media producer working in radio, television and film. He actively contributes articles to the Georgia Straight, and has joined Spice Radio on air many times to talk about topics of racism and discrimination in BC. 

A year after the Quebec mosque attack on January 29th, 2017, Imtiaz came to the studio to discuss Islamophobia in Canada, and to reflect upon how not much has changed in society after the massacre that took the lives of 16 people, and injured 19.

 

Click below to hear his conversation:

Ravi Kahlon

Ravi Kahlon is the MLA for Delta North, and is also the Parliamentary Secretary for Sport and Multiculturalism. Born and raised in Victoria, BC, he started playing field hockey at a young age, and went on to become a two-time Olympian in the sport for Team Canada. Prior to his election in 2017, Ravi spent 7 years in banking, and another 6 years as the Director of Stakeholder Relations with the New Democrat Caucus. An active community leader, he has volunteered with the Delta Parks and Recreation Committee, and is a certified coach to youth across North Delta.

Ravi spoke to Spice Radio on the importance of community dialogue when it comes to issues of discrimination in BC, and detailed the NDP’s new anti-racism initiative. Click below to hear his full interview:

Jennifer Sherif

 

Jennifer Sherif was born and brought up in Syilx territory. She is of  Cherokee, English, Ashkenazi, Irish, French and Mongolian descent. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in History from Thompson Rivers University, as well as a Master of Education in Indigenous Knowledges, and Pedagogies from the University of British Columbia. The first in-studio guest for Spice Radio’s 2018 campaign, Jennifer discussed various barriers First Nation groups continuously face in Canada, and how the country should be focusing on reconciliation. 

Click below to hear her full interview:

Alan Dutton

Alan is a Director of the Canadian Anti-racism Education and Research Society, and has taught courses on racism and ethnic relations at Simon Fraser University. Alan conducts research on hate groups, and provides workshops to unions, schools and government agencies to prevent the recruitment of youth into destructive groups. He has also organized international conferences on racism, authored reports on hate group activity for the Government of BC, the Department of Justice, and conducted anti-racism training for Corrections Canada.

He has received awards from the Attorney General of BC for research and community service, has served on the BC Advisory Council of Multiculturalism for two terms, and on the Advisory Committee of the Canadian Secretariat for the United Nations World Conference Against Racism. He has also appeared as an expert on hate crime on national television in Canada, the United States and Britain.

Listen to Alan’s full interview with Spice Radio below:

Ayesha Khan

Ayesha is a community organizer who is completing her studies in Sociology and NGO & Non Profit Studies at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. During her undergraduate career she also studied at Harvard University and the University of Geneva, where she was admitted into two programs: Harvard’s History and Archaeology field school that focused on Slave Trades, the African Diaspora and Slave Roots Tourism and University of Geneva’s Understanding Global Governance program. Ayesha has served as the Secretary on the Board of Directors for Human Concern International- a Canadian charity based in Ottawa, as well as the Director of Anti-Oppression at Kwantlen Public Interest Research Group- KPIRG. She is passionate about development and has participated in various forms of national/international volunteerism- including teaching at a school for Syrian refugees in Reyhanli, Turkey. She aspires to join the ranks of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, by offering a critical and intersectional feminist lens to the world of global diplomacy. She is an avid fan of Chimamanda Adichie, enjoys exploring beautiful British Columbia and loves tuning into social justice podcasts like “Another Round”.

Listen to the full interview with Ayesha here.

Kombii Nanjalah

Kombii Nanjalah has extensive experience as a union activist, youth advocacy worker, and community organizer. She has served for 9 years as a shop steward with BCGEU Local 003, and has also served as a Member at Large on its local executive for four years. Kombii is also currently on the COPE Executive as a Member at Large.

In Nairobi, Kombii organized low-income women and youth and built a youth soccer movement of over one million children, where she was awarded with the Kenya’s President youth Award. Currently, she supports mentally and physically challenged children working as a Community Health Care Worker at BACI and Strive Living Society. The executive Director at African Great Lakes Networking Foundation, that focuses on refugees to integrate smoothly into the Canadian society, particularly from the African Great Lakes Region, with support, services and referrals, with increased support for women and youth empowerment through education, Culture, sports and music.

As a COPE candidate for Vancouver School Board, her commitments are to combat racism and discrimination in schools, work places and in the community, ensuring every child in the public school system receives the attention they need.

Kombii Nanjalah joined Spice Radio for an in-depth discussion about her experience. Listen to the full interview below:

 

Kat Norris

Kat Norris is a Salish poet, writer, social activist and public educator. Born in British Columbia, Kat grew up in California before returning to BC when she was 19. Soon after moving back, she joined the American Indian Movement. Her first poem was published in the Indian World, a magazine put together by the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. Her poems appear in the Prayers to the Four Directions –  an online initiative dedicated to recovering the spirituality of First Nations communities after the devastation brought by organized religion and Indian Residential Schools. Kat has also presented readings at Rhizome Cafe and UBC’s coffeehouse events.

As a public educator, Kat has spoken on the impact of colonization and Indian Residential Schools to classes and student unions at UBC, SFU and Langara College. She is also the founder and spokesperson for the Indigenous Action Movement, a group which takes action against injustice. Kat holds a background in family counselling, broadcasting, and theatre.

Kat Norris joined Spice Radio for an in-depth talk about her experience. Listen to the full interview below:

Part One:

Part Two:

Baltej Dhillon

In 1991, Baltej Singh Dhillon became the first member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police permitted to wear a turban — as part of his Sikh religion — instead of the Mounties’ traditional cap or stetson. Dhillon’s request that the RCMP change its uniform rules triggered a national debate about religious accommodation in Canada.

Born and raised in Malaysia, Dhillon immigrated to British Columbia in 1983 at the age of 16. After he graduated from high school, he studied criminology. Although initially wanting to be a lawyer, he decided to seek admission to the RCMP after spending time at a Mountie detachment in Surrey, BC, where he volunteered as a translator for Asian immigrants.

Dhillon applied to the RCMP in 1988. Although he met the entrance requirements, he refused to abide by the RCMP dress code of the time, which banned turbans and required clean-shaven faces. As a Sikh, Dhillon’s religious obligations required him to have a beard and wear a turban. Instead of giving up his dreams of becoming a Mountie, or compromising his religious beliefs, Dhillon sought changes to the RCMP uniform policy.The RCMP uniform had been altered before. In 1974, skirts and women’s heels were introduced to accommodate female officers. In 1987, the RCMP had begun affirmative action policies aimed at recruiting visible minorities. The following year, in response to Dhillon’s application, the RCMP Commissioner recommended removing the force’s ban on beards and turbans. The case was controversial, causing heated debate and protest across the country.

Baltej Dhillon joined Spice Radio for an in-depth talk about his experience. Listen to the full interview below:

Tony McAleer

A former organizer for the White Aryan Resistance (WAR), Tony McAleer served as a skinhead recruiter, proprietor of Canadian Liberty Net (a computer operated voice messaging center), and manager of the racist rock band, Odin’s Law. Tony was eventually found to have contravened Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act that prohibits the dissemination […]