A group photo of the team on Zoom. Everyone is smiling and posing for the picture. The people from left to right are: Lucas, Grace, Stacey, Mingji, Marielle, Nicole, and  Alysha.

About Our Team and Process

We’re an intergenerational and intercultural team of people. In Fall 2020 we held online discussion small groups with 30 Chinese and Korean-speaking adults and seniors in Langley, Surrey, and across the lower mainland, BC. The team used a design process to categorize peoples’ experiences with belonging and racism in Canada. Drawing from this research and our own personal experiences, we created and built on ideas to produce this website. An open sharing and discussion process has led us all to grow our perspectives on racism and our roles in responding to it.

In 2021 a group of volunteers called Community Champions expanded the project to include the diverse communities of Surrey. The group received critical racism training and learned how to respond to and report hate crimes and racist incidents to the authorities. The team was able to connect with communities through organizing events in multiple languages including Arabic, Farsi, Korean, Mandarin, Punjabi, and Spanish. Collectively they co-facilitated the smooth running of nearly 40 events in order to raise awareness of racism and hate crimes.

About the Team Members

Nicole joined Options in 2016 as a volunteer and is now a cultural broker, facilitator, translator, and interpreter. She immigrated to Canada from China in 2011. She likes to make friends with people of all ages, and thinks that she can learn more from them than she knows. She likes reading, traveling and cooking.

Nicole is posing for a picture and looking at the camera. She is smiling and resting her hand against the side of her face.

Nicole Wang

Marielle is a designer and illustrator from Vancouver with a love for all things community. They identify as 4th generation Chinese Canadian with roots in Vancouver’s Chinatown and the Canton province. Most of their work is centered around designing for good and the creation of joy. In their free time, they are very involved in Vancouver’s Chinatown, pottery, and spending quality time with their family.

Marielle is in the middle of the picture. They are resting their elbow on their knee and looking into the camera.

Marielle Sam-Wall

Lucas joined Options in 2019 and is working as a coordinator to help the community with translations/interpretations. He was born in the vibrant city of Hong Kong and immigrated to Canada when he was 5. Outside of work, he enjoys playing any sport with a racquet, watching food videos on Youtube (but doesn’t cook), and Japanese culture and food (Matcha, soba, udon 😋). 

A picture of a cat with a squished face who has a small soccer ball on his head (Lucas did not want a photo of him).

Lucas Ho

Grace is new to Canada, originally from South Korea. She has lived as an international social worker in NGOs. She has managed projects in Tanzania, Malawi, Burundi and Cambodia to enhance community development, including empowering women and children, reducing death and disability rates caused by preventable diseases, and strengthening overseas volunteer programs.

Grace has an M.A. in International Development Cooperation. As a new immigrant, she knows and understands life as a stranger and hopes her knowledge and experience can benefit the Korean community in Canada.

Grace is in the middle of the photo, looking over her shoulder back at the camera. She is smiling and looks very happy in the photo.

Grace E.H. Lew

MingJi is a support worker who has helped immigrants and refugees on English classes placement in non-profit organizations since 2012. She was borned and raised in Northeast China until college graduation, and migrated to Vancouver to study in 2000. She enjoys baking, cooking, and playing jigsaw puzzles besides badminton. MingJi holds a bachelor degree in Human Geography from Simon Fraser University.

Mingji is standing in the middle of the photo wearing a scarf and a winter's jacket. There are lights around her and a pathway behind her.

MingJi Wang

Alysha Baratta is a learner, educator, facilitator, researcher, and community builder who works with the Social Innovations Hub at Options. Over the past 10 years, she's worked with immigrants and refugees in the U.S. and Canada on community-engaged projects guided by power-sharing, reciprocity, and cultural humility. Her work is informed by an anti-racist and equity pedagogy. Alysha holds a Master's degree in Human Geography from the University of South Carolina. She loves baking and being a busy puppy mom.

Alysha is smiling and laughing while looking into the camera. The photo is bright with the background out of focus and her in focus.

Alysha Baratta

Stacey is a passionate volunteer and collaborator who spends her time engaged in community building work: organizing community events, leading workshops with newcomers, being a voice for equality and anti-racism work. She currently sits on the Board of the Triple A Senior Housing Society in Langley and is also a member of the Langley Human Dignity Coalition. A passionate volunteer, Stacey has been a volunteer at Options, leading arts and crafts classes with clients. A Township of Langley resident, Stacey helps operate her family's small business in Langley. Whether it is through volunteering or engagement in local politics as a candidate or involvement in a local riding association, Stacey believes that people have the power to create change in their communities.

Stacey Wakelin

Cindy is from Guangzhou, China. She loves delicious food and likes to help others. She is proud of being a volunteer at Options.

Cindy Wu

Daniela joined Options in July 2021 as a volunteer and is now a Psychology and Cognitive Science graduate looking to find her place in a world she wants to help create. Daniela enjoys silent walks, sunny days, painting, and photography.

Daniela Peña

Ece is a newcomer, facilitator, researcher, and the Project Lead of the Anti-Racism project at Options, dedicated to understanding the structural barriers that stop newcomers from fully reaching out to their potential. They hold a Master’s degree in Sociology from SFU. Their interests are policy analysis, cultural diplomacy, global immigration, as well as hiking, and cooking.

Ece Arslan

Geonsik Park studied social work and worked in South Korea. He immigrated to Canada in 2017. He currently teaches different subjects and wants to continue learning in depth for his career. He loves watching soccer and riding his bike. In his free time, he loves cooking for his family.

Geonsik Park

Jagpreet believes that serving her community is her passion and purpose. Her motivation to stand for others is respect and inclusion for everyone. She wants to pursue her passion for helping others and that's why she is studying for a Bachelor of Applied Psychology at Douglas College.

Jagpreet Debad

Janice joined Options in 2021. She works as a facilitator, facilitating international students to pursue their studies and success in Canada. Coming to Canada originally as an international student, Janice would like to assist newcomers to embrace the diversity in Canada.

Janice Xie

Lin was born and raised in China. As a former radio journalist, she has a strong passion and curiosity for the world, and would never stop on her dedication to help others. Working as a freelance translator primarily on environmental protection, Lin believes every step counts in promoting social equality and justice. She feels herself empowered and enriched by being part of this campaign.

Lin Lin

Lucy is an immigrant and has been in Canada for two and a half years. She loves communicating with people from different countries and helping newcomers. She joined the project as a volunteer last year and has been supporting the project through translation and facilitation for the Mandarin-speaking community.

Lucy Li

Marseel joined Options in June 2021 as a volunteer. He immigrated to Canada from Iraq in 2013. He enjoys helping newcomers and making friends and connections. In his free time, he likes to go for walks by the beach, discover new parks and hidden gems of the city.

Marseel Al-hirmiz

Nancy is new to Canada from China. Aligning her passion for human rights, equality, and helping others with her studies and career, Nancy studied International Law and worked as a lawyer and social worker. She also volunteered to give back to the community, through different projects as well as providing legal support. Nancy believes that every tiny action can create the betterment of the community.

Nancy Yiwen Zhang

Paniz is an international medical graduate who moved from Iran to Canada in 2020. She enjoys meeting new people, finding new friends, listening to their stories and understanding their beliefs and their wonderful cultures. Helping people to enjoy their lives and watching their smiles come above all for her. In her free time, she makes handcrafts, reads books, or tries new foods.

Paniz Fathi

Poonam joined Options in 2021. She has been volunteering with a couple of non-profit organizations on various projects as a facilitator, translator, interpreter, and assistant teacher. She loves socializing and getting to know the traditions of diverse cultures closely. She believes in a non-judgmental attitude, empathy, and is always ready to get surprised by new learning and new ideas.

Poonam Mahendru

Soroosh immigrated to Vancouver less than a year ago to pursue his dream of becoming a family physician in Canada. He loves to know about nearly everything, from gaming, to sports, and even politics. He is passionate about finding the root causes of complicated issues; and through following this passion, he aspires to improve the quality of life in the society he lives in, both for himself and the generations to come.

Soroosh Salehabadi

Ted is new to Canada, and he joined Options as a volunteer in 2021. He likes to make friends with people, and learn more from them. He likes reading, cooking, and spending quality time with his family.

Ted Cao

Thank you!

This project was made possible by funding from the Community Foundations of Canada, to whom we are very grateful. We would like to thank all of the people who offered their contribution to this project. We appreciate the input of newcomers to Canada who participated in focus group interviews and shared their stories.

Thank you to the counsellors who hosted online workshops for communities to discuss racism: Mary Kam, Vancouver Multicultural Counselling Centre, and Laarni Bernardo. And thank you to the individuals who contributed to this project and gave feedback on the resources: Tesni Leung, Suwon Lee, Annie Ohana,  Jennifer Chan, Pia Kolba, Malou Sibbaluca, Joy Sapiera, Jenny Lam, and Khim Tan.

About Options Community Services

Options Community Services (OCS) is Canadian non-profit registered charity providing social services in Surrey, Delta, White Rock and Langley, British Columbia. We are an innovative and well-respected leader in the communities we serve. OCS is a diverse organization united for the purpose of helping people help themselves and promoting safe, health and vibrant communities. Guided by diversity, integrity, resourcefulness, collaboration and excellence, our vision is inspiring hope and belonging to all.

The diversity of our community takes many forms. OCS is committed to celebrating the rich diversity of our community. We are guided by the principle that celebrating diversity enriches and empowers the lives of all people.

Learn more about Options Community Services here.

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