An annual gala dinner celebrating the festivals of Diwali and Eid brought together the Scarborough Southwest community on Nov. 24 for some well-earned recognition and delicious food.
It’s important to help promote the multicultural community.
— Lorenzo Berardinetti, MPP Scarborough Southwest
Presented by the Toronto-based non-profit Heritage Beyond Borders (HBB), the dinner was an opportunity for media professionals and prominent members of the community to network, celebrate, and honour the hard-working individuals who help further diversity and multiculturalism in the area.
“I think it’s important to help promote the multicultural community, the harmony between different communities,” said Lorenzo Berardinetti, MPP for Scarborough Southwest.
Scarborough Southwest is one of the most diverse communities in Ontario, according to Berardinetti. It has a large population of residents from Asian, South American, and other groups including Tamil, Indian, Bengali, Chinese, and Italian.
HBB was founded by Neel Nanda in 2008. After working as secretary general at the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada, Nanda decided to start up his own organization that would provide a point of meeting for the different ethnic groups in his community.
Nanda launched HBB with the help of his wife and some friends. The group aims to achieve harmony and understanding among community members, “to break the barriers of ethnic differences and make a heritage that all can feel comfortable with,” as stated on its website.
The mission of HBB is “to promote liberal thinking and thereby increase tolerance and respect for our ethic differences and divergences.”
HBB holds fundraisers, cultural shows, rallies, ethnic festival celebrations, and also participates in events organized by other groups.
‘We’re All Similar’
“I think sometimes people don’t understand someone else’s original background,” Berardinetti said.
“But this group brings … ethic groups together to show that we can all live and sit together, and work together and enjoy life together, and be neighbours to each other, without being afraid and without thinking that the culture is different, because in the end we’re all similar in a way.”
Attendees Sunny Singh, who is a team manager at Rogers Communications Inc., and his wife Nina Singh attended the event for the first time this year and said they enjoyed it very much.
“You get to meet people from other cultures,” said Nina Singh.
“The beauty of Canada is that we all get along very well,” Berardinetti noted.
After some snacks, music performances, and a speech by the MPP, honorees received plaques of recognition.
Berardinetti presented Nanda with a plaque on the occasion of the 4th anniversary of HBB, for his ongoing contribution to furthering diversity and multiculturalism in Ontario communities.
“We need this kind of encouragement for people like us, for all members of the community,” Nanda said.
“We are working day and night to make ends meet, but we need to get engaged and get out into the community. That’s why we all have Heritage Beyond Borders.”
HBB senior adviser Irene Keroglidis helped present plaques of recognition to community members who contributed to the diverse environment over the past year.
Viara Dimitrova, editor-in-chief of the Bulgarian Flame newspaper, and the editor of the Weekly Bengali Times, Shahidul Islam Mintu, also received plaques, among other media leaders.
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