Minister of Environment Mary Polak, on behalf of Premier Christy Clark, presented Kamal Dhillon, a courageous Langley citizen, with the province's newest honour, the Medal of Good Citizenship on May 24.
Launched in July 2015 by Premier Clark, the prestigious Medal of Good Citizenship recognizes individuals who, through exceptional long-term service, have made outstanding contributions to their communities without expectation of remuneration or reward. The medal reflects their generosity, service, acts of selflessness and contributions to community life. Nominations for the Medal of Good Citizenship are accepted year-round.
Dhillon, who is a survivor of severe domestic violence, will be honoured with the medal for her courage to transcend her suffering from domestic violence to bring a powerful message to the public about domestic violence, offer hope to other victims, and to advocate for changes in laws.
Kamal Dhillon said, "For so long I was damaged, I was broken, I was left for dead, and I had huge trust issues. But I have learned to forgive and moved beyond the losses, abuse, betrayal, injustice and misfortune. I will not let my past define me. I came this far not to give up. I am determined to overcome and be a change agent. Thank you for bestowing this huge honour of Medal of Good Citizenship. It makes me even more determined to continue my work."
Her service to community and countless hours of volunteering include support to victims of domestic violence and willingness to travel to conferences and communities where she brings awareness of the devastation exacted by domestic violence to classrooms, police departments, business and community organizaions, and churches. Whether speaking to officials at the The World Bank, The International Monetary Fund, or a local group of educators, her inspirational message brings understanding to the complex issue, and hope to victims of domestic violence.
Although Dhillon still has residual suffering from her injuries, she remains a tireless advocate for changes in laws, better services for victims, and training for police, social workers, educators and others who may see evidence of someone being abused. In particular she lobbied for the federal government to bring in the Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act and today would still like those laws to be toughened. Her personal story, told in her book Black and Blue Sari, has raised the issue on the international front and helped those on the front line to better recognize domestic abuse and provide victims with the support they need.
Premier Christy Clark said, "Kamal Dhillon has worked tirelessly to support women who, like herself, have been victims of domestic violence. Her courage to speak publicly about the challenges victims face helps better prepare front-line workers and ensures vulnerable women get the support and protection they need."
Dhillon is among a select group of British Columbians who will receive the Medal of Good Citizenship.