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

VIDEO: Snowboarders rescued after going missing overnight

Two snowboarders went out of bounds and were missing overnight.

First responders attend rollover near China Creek

Six firefighters from Kootenay Boundary Regional Fire Rescue attended the scene

Castlegar weekend forecast calls for wet snow, mild temperatures

Wet snow and unseasonably mild temperatures are in the forecast for Castlegar this weekend.

UPDATE: Body found in burnt-out car near Genelle

Police report a body was found in the burnt out trunk of a 1999 Honda Civic

Castlegar mayor Lawrence Chernoff looking forward to progress in 2018

Columbia Avenue Redevelopment, community complex and progress on airport reliability top his list.

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

New Denver emergency ward to remain 24/7

Interior Health says it’s postponing changes to operating hours.

Honouring our best during Minor Hockey Week

Team photos from our minor hockey association teams in Castlegar.

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

Most Read