Different But The Same

Fran Vanderpol
Character Council Vice Chair

City of Character Website: abbycharacter.com

I had the distinct pleasure of spending last Saturday at AbbyFest – our local multicultural festival. What delighted me was to see the beautiful people dressed in their native costumes and the many fine displays of dancing and music and sport. That day those children were Japanese, or Indian, or Swedish and they were beautiful and proud and diverse. The next day they will all be back in jeans and T-shirts, still beautiful, but now more similar – all people who say ‘My City is Abbotsford.’

Also, as I browsed through the many booths representing ethnic groups, religions and cultures I was again delighted to see that each culture and group has struggled with what is good and just and true and has found ways to express that and pass it on to future generations.  This is expressed in various colourful ways but there is, at its heart, a similarity and unity. Each culture, each religion, each nationality values good character.  Every parent and grandparent wants their children to grow up learning to be respectful and responsible.  We all want to be people of integrity. And we all appreciate the benefits of living in a city where our neighbours try to know and understand us and are willing to work hard, whether in their workplaces or in their free time to make our city, Abbotsford a better place.

Musleh Hakki, the vision and driving force behind AbbyFest presented this vision and charge as he opened the event.

Our Diversity Is Our National Asset
Let us all work together to create the conditions for dialogue among our society, cultures and peoples, based upon respect for commonly shared values.  LETS BUILD BRIDGES

It is through this dialogue that we can achieve global visions of sustainable development encompassing observance of human rights, mutual respect and creation of strong bond. LETS BUILD BRIDGES

The value and dignity of all Canadian citizens regardless of their racial or ethnic origins, their language, culture, background or their religious affiliation must be recognized and appreciated. LETS BUILD BRIDGES

Our citizenship gives us equal rights and equal responsibilities. By taking an active part in our civic affairs, we affirm these rights and strengthen Canada’s democracy, ensuring that a multicultural, integrated and inclusive citizenship will be every Canadian’s inheritance. LETS BUILD BRIDGES

I believe that as we build those bridges of understanding and respect we will come to a deeper and richer understanding of who we are and how we can together build a strong, healthy, safe and flourishing home for everyone.