Amir Bajehkian is seeking a COPE nomination to be a Vancouver Parks Board candidate. COPE's nomination meeting is taking place on April 10th, 2022, where COPE members will decide on the candidates. If you aren't already a COPE member, please sign up here to become a COPE member.
What is your background and experience? What work have you done in your life or community that is relevant to the office you're seeking?
I am an outreach consultant, community activist, and aviation specialist. I am passionate about the engagement of youth and newcomers in the affairs and decisions of their new home. As a member of the Multicultural Advisory Council of BC, I advocated for systemic changes to fight systematic racism and discrimination in BC. I believe that marginalized communities are largely invisible in the decisions made about our city, especially in parks and recreation. I fought to have my culture represented in our civic government, and I want to be there for all communities to have their presence in Vancouver recognized in our civic institutions, especially in parks and recreation. No one should be excluded from our parks because their identity does not align with the legacy of colonialism.
What do you like about COPE and why do you think you’ll be a good fit for COPE?
COPE is a tent for voices who are often not at the table, but ought to be. COPE empowers those left behind and makes sure their issues are not overlooked. Furthermore, COPE pays attention to our individual stories and how collectively we can make a difference. COPE does not resort to a top-down approach, and I find my voice in COPE.
I am also committed to helping expand our base. Many working-class people in Vancouver do not yet know about us and our message, and I believe I can communicate to them our values and policy ideas – and bring them to our camp. There are plenty of COPE supporters out there who don’t know they are one of us just yet.
What are the big issues you want to highlight during the election campaign and work on while in office?
COPE’s current representatives have made historic, progressive changes in direction for the Park Board – despite tremendous opposition from powerful interests. I want to continue COPE’s tradition of fighting for vulnerable populations and the homeless, and of removing financial barriers to recreational facilities by reducing fees to zero.
Finally, I want to bring visibility and inclusion to parks and recreation facilities in the City. It starts with names that reflect the diversity of our communities. And these facilities should be a place where all cultures and communities are embraced and included in activities. I want our recreation facilities to be where diverse communities share their traditions with all (i.e. cooking, language, stories) to connect with our cousins from all backgrounds, and no one is left unseen because of their identity.
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