Am Johal: nomination for news maker of the year

am johal

Every year the Courier has a “news maker of the year” edition where they ask various people in the city to nominate worthy candidates for the title. Below is my nomination for this year in the unedited version that I submitted.

Am Johal for news maker of 2009

The key issue that the city of Vancouver is challenged by is housing affordability and how this relates to homelessness. The one person over the past year who has worked relentlessnessly and selflessly on this issue is Am Johal.

As an organizer for the Impact on the Community Coalition, Am has been a constant force to keep a national housing plan as the main legacy of the Olympics.

Am has organized countless public forums on the Olympics to encourage a public dialogue about the its potential to be positive social force for our city and what the potential negative effects that Games could be in Vancouver. While some have viewed the discussion of the pros and cons of the Games an attack, it is evident that Am has facilitated an important community dialogue with integrity, extensive research, eloquence and respect.

As the progenitor and the first hunger striker of the Homelessness Hunger Strike. Am has created a powerful tool to communicate and advocate for a national housing policy that will end homelessness and develop more affordable housing.

Am has accomplished this with creativity and intellectual rigour that has been an inspiration. While Am is no stranger to the media and captures his fair share of it to do his advocacy, what is not widely known is how often Am effectively facilitates the wide breadth and diversity of Vancouver civil society to promote their voice in the media. These efforts have demonstrated his ability to promote and encourage diversity, gender equality, youth engagement and respect for older persons.

While I was gathering my thoughts on who I would nominated for newsmaker of the year the following comment was posted to the WERA website and I am including it here as another testimony to Am’s status as Media Man for 2009.



AM JOHAL has tirelessly fought for the rights of
homeless here in B.C. if ever there was a righteous advocate for the homeless he’s the man. Earlier this year he started a Hunger Strike for the homeless here in Vancouver as a awareness campaign. He and a few friends fasted for a week without food that’s right he gave of himself, he went without. In the last year there have been many rallies for the homeless here in our beautiful city but nothing to me has had the impact that this cause represents.
There have been countless people lining up to support his fasting chain and to me he deserves a medal. I attended a forum on homeless policies and to tell you the truth if this is all the lost souls in the dtes have for representation they had better pack their long johns it’s going to be a long cold winter. here is a video describing his cause and a link to a website about some of the participants.
2010 hungerstrike

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