Joven Narwal was quoted in the City of Vancouver’s Interim Report on the Historical Discrimination Against People of South Asian Canadian Descent Advisory Committee. The report was publicly presented to City Council on July 22, 2022. An excerpt from Mr. Narwal’s comments are below:
While public apologies for historical wrongs are often the product of political arithmetic and pragmatism (particularly, in an election year), in my view, such acts of confession and contrition can promote a sense of trust and assurance that history will not repeat itself as well as communicate a striving for a common future. Though the gesture will be symbolic and aspirational, to prove its sincerity it must be accompanied by both a well researched and comprehensive factual foundation, as well as a commitment to taking real-action and concrete steps for the future. From my perspective, the poetics of this apology should celebrate the community’s resilience in the face of a system of racial hierarchy that was sustained consciously and unconsciously; it ought not to cast blame or shame, but rather focus on bringing awareness of the past in order to nurture a collective commitment for repair and renewal in the present and into future.
It is important to acknowledge that this apology may also trigger memories of culturally unsafe personal experiences or experiences of friends, family and the community. It certainly did for me, as has my involvement in a number of other recent anti-racism initiatives such as my presentation at “Shaping Identity and Data Collection”, a virtual event hosted by the Province of British Columbia in collaboration with the South Asian Legal Clinic, as well as my engagement by the Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia to produce a report with recommendations on an action-oriented strategy to infuse equity, diversity, and inclusion into the core values of the organization. Participating in these initiatives and on this advisory committee, has been an opportunity to reflect on my own personal journey, an aspect of which I will share below […]