My name is Tara Teng. I am Miss British Columbia 2010-11 and the reigning Miss Canada 2011. As a citizen of this planet, I am a modern day abolitionist and a voice for justice, love and mercy worldwide.
Speaking Up for Dalits
My name is Tara Teng. I am Miss British Columbia 2010-2011 and the reigning Miss Canada 2011. I am also a Trinity Western University student and I am studying to become a teacher so that I can help to provide marginalized people groups with the practical tools of education to lift them out of oppression and protect themselves from exploitation.
India has had my heart for a number of years now. As a Canadian woman of South East Asian heritage, I feel that it is important to stand up for human rights around the world and advocate on behalf of the oppressed. The Dalit people of India suffer from one of the worst forms of racial discrimination in the world today. We have a voice to speak out against injustice and it is up to us to ensure that their story is not forgotten.
Beyond the title of Miss BC and Miss Canada, I consider myself an abolitionist and will not stop until modern day slavery and human trafficking are eradicated from the face of the earth. All people are worthy of value and deserve to live in freedom!
Please join with the Dalit Freedom Network and Speak up for the Dalit people of India.
Miss British Columbia 2010-2011/ Miss Canada 2011
- a voice for justice, freedom and mercy worldwide.
This morning I've been thinking about random acts of kindness. It's the little things that we do for others. Things like helping a little old lady cross the road or carrying groceries to the car for a new mom who has her hands full already. It can commonly be seen as holding the door open for the person behind you or calling up an old friend just to say "I'm thinking of you and have a great day". Random acts of kindness can also mean bringing over a meal for a family that is struggling or inviting over someone who is new to town. It can mean having a cup of coffee with the man sitting on the corner of a busy intersection or bending down to help a small child tie his or her shoe. No matter how small or insignificant our choice of kind action may be, the result will undoubtedly bring a smile to others around us and maybe even brighten someone else's day.
Yet the more I think of it, the less convinced I am that these actions are truly random. The way I see it is that we are all intimately connected together through our place in the family tree of all humanity. We all share the same basic needs of survival and we all are looking for a place of safety, security and belonging. We all want to know that our lives matter and that we were created for a purpose on this earth.
Kindness acknowledges our humanity. Kindness says that we are all the same-- created with value, in human dignity and born for a purpose.
For a Dalit that has been told their whole life that they are sub-human... less valuable than animals... acknowledgement of their human dignity is revolutionary. To a Dalit child, knowing that someone values them and believes in them enough to spend them to school....this small random act of kindness can change their whole world and the lives of their children...igniting a catalyst for generations to come.
Random acts of kindness.... it's only the practical application of "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. " (Article One, United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, 1948).
HAPPY 100TH INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!
Let’s love, respect and cherish one another, as men and women. I am so thankful for the courageous women of the past who have stood tall in the face of oppression. Today I remember the women and girls around the world who still face discrimination, violence, and gender inequality.
I once heard a poet say, “The most exploited blessing…to be a girl”.
Human Trafficking is the worst form of violence against women around the world. It’s turns beautiful, precious lives into commodities that are raped for a profit. Let’s stand up for the millions of women and children enslaved in human trafficking around the world! Each life is precious and made for a beautiful purpose <3
Let’s make every day International Women’s Day. Let’s learn to live a life of love and respect for others as we cherish human life and value. Let’s empower the women around the world to live in the fullness of their beautiful purpose as precious lives who have been created to bring beauty, grace and peace to the world.
Education. Transformation. Impact.
It's the focus behind the Freedom Week project... and also the three mission statement words of my school-Trinity Western University.
Education is the most powerful tool that we can use in the fight to end modern-day slavery. Most people are unaware that slavery is still a thriving form of oppression and exploitation today. We suspect that our consumer choices, such as what clothes, electronics, accessories or food that we buy, may have been produced through the use of slave-labour. In our minds, these unethical business practices are often labelled as "sweatshop" labour because we simply cannot comprehend the existence of true slavery in our world today.
Yet every now and then, we must ask ourselves the hard questions..."why does this t-shirt only cost me $5.00?"... "where does my favourite chocolate come from?"..."who grew my coffee beans that I use to make my morning cup of coffee each day?".
If we are honest with ourselves in the search for true answers to these questions, then we are faced with two choices:
If we choose the second option, then we are forced to transform our lives into a new lifestyle of living social justice which will ultimately, bring us to making an impact on the world around us.
Ultimately, impact is the real goal. Impact is what the world needs. Impact is life or death for 250 million Dalit people in India-right now.
I may be only one person, but my small life does matter and I can leave an impact on the world around me. Personally, I am tired of living the status quo! I'm tired of seeing labels that read "No animals were harmed in the making of this product" but never seeing labels that read "No humans were harmed in the making of this product".
What does it take to see the 250 Million Dalit people as PEOPLE and not simply as statistics. When will the value of a human life outweigh the value of our own personal comfort?
When those questions are answered we will find ourselves walking the road of Education. Transformation. Impact.
With Dr. Beryl D'Souza
This blog post in long overdue, but still holds a special place in my heart.
On October 18, 2010, I partnered with the Dalit Freedom Network to host a benefit dinner in support of the 250 Million Dalits living in racial oppression and discrimination in India. Due to the traditional Indian caste system Dalits are viewed as the lowest of the low within the social order; the creator god, Brahma, did not even want them to be part of his body and therefore, they are literally the dust of the ground that you walk upon. One would think that such an inhumane practise would be unheard of due to its violation of human rights. Yet this is not the case. Although the caste system is formally illegal within India, many of the ancient practices still thrive due to deep rooted cultural and spiritual beliefs.
Dalit women are viewed of as the “Dalits of Dalits” because they have the unfortunate circumstance of being born both Dalit and female, which means they cannot reach enlightenment until they are reborn both a man and into a higher caste system. The life of a Dalit woman is so oppressive that many women would rather kill their newborn baby girls than have them suffer the life they live.
Why does these atrocious practices still continue?? Because no one speaks out against them!
Last month we joined with 130 Canadian women and stood in solidarity with our Dalit sisters in India. We acknowledge and declare that as members of the human family, we all deserve to live free and equal, valued and cherished. It was a beautiful night of both awareness and compassion.
Dr. Beryl D’Souza, herself the daughter of a Dalit woman, gave a moving speech about the plight of the Dalit women today. I also had the honour of meeting with a very remarkable young woman, the 2010 Canadian living “Me to We” winner Julia Thicke, who was so inspired by the struggle of the Dalits that she raised enough money to build a playground for Dalit children at one of the Dalit Freedom Network’s “Good Shepherd” schools in India. The Canadian women in attendance gave generously and many young Dalit children now have sponsorships that will send them to school and education will enable them to break the cycle of poverty and oppression.
Yes- change is coming. Oppressive social norms can be reversed when good people do their part in setting things right. You too can do your part in setting Dalit children free from oppression and rising up a new generation of leaders in India. To support a child through sponsorship or fund other projects with the Dalit Freedom Network go here: http://www.dalitfreedom.net
**For more photos from the event, go to my personal blog: www.tarateng.wordpress.com
Published a post
Joined the community of Education for Dalit Children