It's official. Parents' Voice has formed a civic party and will run five school trustees in the November election.
"Our candidates bring a rich diversity of experience and expertise," said Heather Leung, Parents' Voice president and mother of three. "As parents we know families' dreams and stresses and are committed to a proactive approach,"
Upset parents formed the ad hoc Burnaby-based group in opposition to the school board's new policy on gender identity and sexual orientation. The policy was designed to protect staff and students from homophobic bullying, but parents picketed the board with a variety of concerns, including complaints that the policy was infringing on their rights to morally educate their children, while others were concerned it was based on homosexual propaganda.
The five school board candidates are Homara Ahmad, Charter Lau, Helen Ward, Gordon World and Long Xue.
Ahmad, a mother of two, graduated from Burnaby South Secondary and has a business administration degree from BCIT. She volunteers with the B.C. Muslim Association.
Charter Lau, one of the group's main spokespeople, has lived in Burnaby for 20 years and has two daughters in high school. He studied design at Hong Kong Polytechnic University and runs a video production business. He has volunteered in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, serving as trustee with a legal defense fund for people who have had their children taken away. He has also been involved with the Parents for Democracy in Education Society.
Ward has a tutoring and music services business. She is a member of Burnaby Family Place and has volunteered with Scouts Canada, Amnesty International, the Wilderness Committee and music groups. Burnaby NOW readers may recognize her name from work she's done as president of Kids First Parent Association.
Gordon World, another outspoken Parents' Voice member, has a master of business administration and runs a Vancouver bike shop. He has two kids and speaks conversational Mandarin.
Long Xue, father of three, is a software developer who is active in his faith community.
The public can meet the candidates at an event on Friday Oct. 14, at 7 p.m., at Burnaby's Nikkei Place, 6688 Southoaks Cres. For more information, visit www.burnabyparentsvoice.ca.