Postcard from Parliament: Alex Atamanenko

Support Martial Arts for Justice

Earlier this year in Nelson, I had the pleasure of meeting members of a grassroots enterprise called Justice at the Junction to discuss world slavery and other justice issues. One member of this group, Dean Siminoff, is the head instructor of the Kootenay Christian Martial Arts schools in our area and founder of Martial Arts For Justice.

Thanks to Dean and others, their Breaking Boards, Breaking Chains campaign raised $16,000 in 2014, bringing awareness and support to the victims of slavery and oppression in third world countries. This year they are hoping to exceed those numbers.

The demonstration of board breaking and traditional weapons at the Nelson Civic Theatre on April 18, and the showing of the movie Karate Kid afterward, were a great step in that direction, as was the Pete Seeger Memorial fundraiser on Jan. 31.

Although the issue is not highly reported in Canadian media, some statistics brought to my attention leave little doubt that this is indeed a cause worth supporting. In Canada, according to the RCMP, between 800 and 1,200 people are trafficked through the country annually, many for the purposes of prostitution and forced labour.

Meanwhile, on the global stage, the number of people held in slavery has been put as high as 36 million. The penalties for human trafficking are seldom enforced. For example in India, slave owners are more likely to be hit by lightning than to go to jail.

Events like Breaking Boards, Breaking Chains can make a big difference in the lives of many people both here at home and in the developing world. Martial Arts for Justice has partnered with the International Justice Mission, an NGO whose mandate includes protecting poor people from violence, ensuring crimes are prosecuted, and working to rehabilitate and support the survivors of slavery, abuse, and marginalization. I recently read a chilling account of the world of human trafficking written by the founder of International Justice Mission, Gary Haugen.

A tremendous amount of effort is needed to end this despicable practice in the world. All funds raised from admission to demonstrations like the one on April 18 as well as donations received go directly to the International Justice Mission.

Martial Arts for Justice and their affiliated group, Justice at the Junction, continue a great tradition of West Kootenay residents supporting important causes and making a difference. I am proud of the work that these great citizens are doing and I would encourage everyone to keep an eye out for future events in the area.

As a student of karate for the last 40 years, I am happy that the martial arts potential to help humanity is being realized in this way and I offer the members of Martial Arts for Justice my full support and encouragement in their great endeavour.

 

 

Alex Atamanenko is the MP for BC Southern Interior.

 

Just Posted

Craft cannabis development planned for Castlegar

Plans are underway for one of the first craft cannabis industrial parks in the province.

Andrew Bellerby out as RDCK’s regional fire chief

Bellerby held the job since January 2016

Castlegar already well on path to energy-wise future, says community activist

Eco-Society executive director asks council to take 100-per-cent-renewable-energy pledge

Annual Columbia Basin Culture tour coming up Aug 10 and 11

There are locations across the region participating

Rossland council passes plastic bag ban despite legal questions

Appeal court ruling threw bylaw in limbo, but council voted to move forward

Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman sentenced to life in prison

Experts say he will likely wind up at the federal government’s Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Highway 1 closed to due fatal accident east of Revelstoke

A dump truck lost control and the driver was ejected

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

‘Beyond the call’: Teen in police custody gets birthday surprise by B.C. Mountie

Unusual celebration started when Staff Sgt. Paul Vadik went to visit the teen in his Coquitlam cell

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

Most Read