Four events to commemorate, and raise awareness for UIDW December 1-8, and the United Nations Day for Human Rights, December 10, were staged.
A Celebration of Unity in Diversity – A Community Forum, was staged December 3 by the Ajax Public Library, Teen Advisory Council (TAC) in partnership with the Ajax Baha’i Community. Speakers/emcees from the APL’s TAC were: Brian Campbell, Vice President, and Ann Makkar, Secretary. Community speakers were: Karishama Panday Chitram, Sankat Mochan Hanuman Mandir & Cultural Centre Ajax. Yalda Baghei and Abteen Moslehi, Ajax Baha’i Community. Esther Enyolu, Executive Director, Women’s Multicultural Resource and Counselling Centre Durham. Cultural presentations were made by Suriyakala Jeevanandan, a dance instructor, with the Institution of Academic and Fine Arts Durham, and Aakriti Pandey, singer and TAC member.
Emcees explained that, UIDW was inaugurated in 1992 by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Canada; and that the week was a gift to the citizens of Canada, that was recognized by the government of Canada. Karishma, gave a power-point presentation on Hinduism. Yalda, mentioned that: “UIDW was to help build positive relations among all Canadians….” Abteen spoke about the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights Charter. Esther Enyolu, spoke about the mission of the WMRCCD, and her work as a trauma counsellor. .
A Unity in Diversity – Human Rights Day Assembly, was organized by Pickering High School students in partnership with the Ajax Baha’i Community, on December 5. Goals were: to commemorate the UN Day for Human Rights December 10; to reflect on the global impact of the UDHR Charter; and to develop and sustain a “culture of awareness for human rights,” between students, teachers, and community partners.
Speakers were: Chis Alexander, MP Ajax-Pickering, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. Esther Enyolu, WMRCCD. Naki Osutei, Director, Human Resources, Diversity and Inclusion, Organizing Committee, TORONTO 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games. Raveena Rajasingham, Director, Social Development Council Durham. Hassan Ahmed Sheikh, Director, Religious and Social Affairs, Pickering Islamic Centre. Assembly Emcees were: Jenny Zhou, and Ben Orlanko. Moderators were: Neleesha Giga, Julia Lepena and Hamza Naim. Closing remarks, by: Uriah Edusei-Needham, Ben Orlanko, and Jenny Zhou. Dignitaries who attended included: Dr. Bromley Armstrong, Human Rights advocate, Martyn Beckett, Director of Education, Durham District School Board, and Camille Taylor, Superintendent of Education/Ajax for the DDSB.
The PHS Unity in Diversity Week, Peace and Community Harmony Concert – Towards a Global Society. A joint project with the Ajax Baha’i Community, was staged at PHS, the evening of December 5. Performers included: the Pickering High School Senor Jazz Band, under the direction of David Kosurko, Music Teacher. Angela Ananthacumaran, singer, from the Tamil Cultural and Academic Society of Durham. The Tassa Band, Sankat Mochan Hanuman Mandir. Dancers, from the IAFADR. Byra Dineshkumar, singer. The Baha’i Children and Ladies singing groups, under the direction of Mike Nooreini, Musical Director. Aakriti Pandey, singer. Joshua Lucas and Jordan Myers, “Steel & Rhythm,” musicians. Children recited prayers, and read Articles from the UDHR. The 2014 CBC “Return to Dresden” documentary about the human rights advocacy work of Dr. Bromley Armstrong, and Ruth Lor Malloy in the 1950’s, was screened. The final concert song was: “We Our The World.”
A Municipal Delegation Presentation to Ajax Town Council, December 8. Presenters, Cedric Thakurdin and Yalda Baghaei explained that: “the promotion of unity in diversity, and human rights were core principles of the Baha’i Faith, and were part of the goals of the external affairs strategy of the Faith, others being to: promote processes for global peace; global prosperity; moral and ethical development; the equality between women and men; to defend the interests of the Faith, as in the case of the persecutions of the Baha’is of Iran.” The delegation thanked Ajax Council for again proclaiming Unity in Diversity Week in Ajax.
Ajax Library Unity in Diversity pictures.
Joel Sutherland, Library staff lead for Teen Advisory Council (TAC) Top row, TAC members: Michael Campbell, Brian Campbell, Vice President. Arika Chowdbury, Faith Clark, and Ann Makka, Secretary.
Suriyakala Jeevanandan , Indian dance instructor, Institution of Academic and Fine Arts Durham.
Left to right: Karishama Panday Chitram, speaker, Sankat Mochan Hanuman Mandir. Aakriti Pandey, singer, and TAC member.
Left to right: guests, performers and speakers attending the Ajax Library, “Unity in Diversity” event. Cecil Ramnauth, Emily Rutland, Mike Nooreini, Ziba Moslehi, Esther Enyolu, Farahdouht Eshraghi , Renrick Ashby, Debra Tiwari.
Yalda Baghaei and Abteen Mosleih, speakers.
Esther Enyolu, Executive Director, Women’s Multicultural Resource Counselling Centre of Durham Region.
Human Rights Assembly
Back row standing, members of the PHS Human Rights Assembly organizing committee.
Seated, left to right, Assembly guest speaker: Raveena Rajasingham, Director, Community Development Council Durham. Naki Osutei, Lead , Diversity and Inclusion Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games Organizing Committee. Esther Enyolu, Executive Director, Women’s Multicultural Resource Counselling Centre of Durham. Chis Alexander, MP Ajax Pickering, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration. Speakers are holding “Pachi the Porcupine,” the official mascot for the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, that was designed by four girls attending Buttonville Public School in Markham. At the Assembly, PHS students and administrators, in the name of guest speakers, donated $250 to Games organizers.
PHS Human Rights Assembly organizers, with Chris Alexander, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.
The PHS Unity in Diversity Week, Peace and Community Harmony Concert – Towards a Global Society.
Angela Ananthacumaran, singer.
Josua Lucas, and Jordan Myers, “Steel and Rhythm” musicians.
Byra Dineshkumar, singer.
Baha’i Ladies Singing Group.
Saghar Baghei, Hengameh Shams, Ziba Moslehi.
Dancers for the Institution of Academic and Fine Arts Durham Region.
The Baha’i Children’s Singing Group.
Cecil Ramnauth, Town of Ajax, Host Committee member, Pan Am Games, Dinesh Kumar, Director, Rouge Valley Health System Foundation, Tom Thiru, President, Tamil Cultural and Academic Society of Durham.
Ajax Delegation pictures
Pic 16 & 17:
Yalda Baghei and Cedric Thakurdin, delegation presentation to Ajax Town Council, holding certificates of appreciation, from the provincial government.