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Opinion: Culture is the soul of Squamish

'Culture brings people together. It unites us. We need to see more appreciation and cultural celebrations that all can attend in the community.'
Grant Boguski.

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to celebrate Diwali with my coworkers. It was the first time I had been to such a celebration. We ate and danced all evening, and we laughed together.

I got to know them on a personal level. Not only did I learn a lot and have a lot of fun, but I got a better understanding of how important it is to embrace not only your own but other people’s cultures. I had never been in such an inclusive environment before. I felt like I was totally accepted.

Now with a more profound sense of the importance of embracing diversity and culture, I’m reflecting on how much culture and diversity can impact not only ourselves as individuals but our community as a whole.

I have always embraced my roots and my culture as an Ashkenazi Jew because it is important to me that I connect with my family’s history, especially with family members not in town.

However, I rarely get the opportunity to celebrate other people’s cultures and connect to their history. It is essential to recognize the importance of connecting to one another’s history, as history is at the core of a person’s identity. Unfortunately, despite this, the opportunities to celebrate each other’s culture as a community still seem scarce.

Culture brings people together. It unites us. We need to see more appreciation and cultural celebrations that all can attend in the community.

Squamish has become an even more diverse community over the past few years, and we should recognize that our town’s culture is not just our local history but a combination of many people’s cultures.

Something I have missed out on is not having access to a synagogue in the community where I live. The experience of being surrounded by my people is something I can’t relate to. I wish I could experience the feeling of unity and knowing that I am with people who share my roots. I wish I could understand what having a second family feels like.

I wouldn’t want any person to be separated from their culture. Everyone should have the ability to celebrate their past, no matter where they are. It shouldn’t be a privilege to be able to have access to culture.

Now that I know what it feels like — even just a bit—  to truly celebrate culture, I want to feel more of it within the community.

Culture can be created in many ways. It can be through storytelling, a shared meal, live music.

Culture needs to be valued and recognized more in the community. Without celebrating culture and diversity, how can we grow? Culture is a vulnerable piece of our community that may become endangered if we don’t create more opportunities to recognize it.

At the end of the day, the beauty of the world lies in the diversity of its people.

Grant Boguski is a Squamish teen and member of the Squamish Youth Council.

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