I have lived in Brantford since I was three years old. I am honoured to call Brantford my home. My respect for the community was first rooted when Brantford welcomed my family and I as refugees in 1999. We have felt complete acceptance since then. I continue to be surprised by the amount of care and support Brantford residents show for people they do not even know. The community continuously works collectively to change people’s lives for the better.

I admire how the community comes together to make a difference and support wonderful causes. I have witnessed it on several occasions.

For instance, Brantford residents and the community gathered to help organize and celebrate Christmas in October for terminally ill 7-year old Evan Leversage, who died from cancer shortly after. I vividly recall the community actively promoting the event and offering their help to organize a Christmas parade for Evan.

The care of the Brantford community was also seen through the organization of a Peace Walk in Harmony Square following the Paris attacks in November 2015. Over 50 residents gathered to show their compassion and solidarity for victims locally and globally suffering due to the attacks. The community showed that they were not against diverse faiths. They also showed that they do not judge entire groups based on the acts of a few. It was heart warming to see the community support Muslim individuals because they had been judged and hated for something they were not responsible for.

Most recently, Brantford lived up to expectations and collaborated efforts to help sponsor Syrian refugees to the community. As one of the hosts of a Donation Drive hosted in January, I witnessed the love and support Brantford residents had and their openness for diverse peoples. We were able to collect over 200 garbage bags of donations from community residents to give to Syrian refugees once they arrived to Brantford. I was overwhelmed by the level of acceptance the community continues to have despite media portrayals and stigma.

I love Brantford because it has introduced me to people who care.

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