Looking Forward to 2017

Welcome to the first issue of the SLWB newsletter. Since its inception in 2010, the organization has served the community by providing a platform for discussion, engagement and education. Our programming has been driven by the needs of our communities and we continue to work to fulfill these requests.

Who are we?

With so many new faces and a few old ones on the board this year, we will be introducing ourselves and helping you get to know us – from who we are to what we stand for individually to why we are involved.

Featured organizations

With each passing week, SLWB and its board have the privilege of meeting amazing people and organizations. We are impressed by the the quality of work and the passion put forward by these groups. When SLWB was founded, the members made a promise to be non-competitive. This was a cultural shift which SLWB contrib- uted to, and we are committed to upholding. We felt there was sufficient competition but not enough collabora- tion for both inter and intra-community activities. We pledged to support other organizations doing important work. In upcoming issues you will find features about organizations both in Canada, the U.S. and Sri Lanka, that are improving the lives of our communities.

Who am I?

Moving to Canada at the age of 24, I noted that friends of different backgrounds were not able to discuss the Sri Lankan conflict with each other, despite shared Canadian values of multiculturalism; some avoided the topic, while others discussed in silos. Having individual conversations, I learnt that politics, fear, and lack of knowl- edge were some of the biggest challenges to breaking down barriers.

However, amidst difficult environments, there are always those who steadfastly uphold multicultural values. I have met Sinhalese youth, Tamil adults, Muslim kids, Burgher friends, and Christian groups who believe in the importance of treating each other with equality, respect, dignity, and kindness. They also acknowledge hard truths about the failures of our society and use them to shape positive change in our communities.

Together, we recognize that individual connections and cross-community engagement are important and can- not be underestimated. As global citizens and as neighbors these connections play a crucial role in our well- being.

When we created SLWB, it was not necessarily to be a changing force in the community. Rather it was to be a supportive force for agents of change: people dedicating their time and energy without hesitation, who were committed to growing our communities’ successes. We created the platform for you—the community, and it is yours to use.

Thank you to everyone who has performed great services over the years, both publicly and privately, for the betterment of our society. On behalf of the SLWB board and myself, I wish you and your family all the best for the new year. We look forward to supporting your endeavors in 2017.

Suthamie

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