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LETTER: Lekhi family received support from Summerland

Family was showed kindness following racist vandalism in summer

Dear Editor:

Over the last few weeks, our family has sat together and reflected on the actions that have changed our lives forever.

We have been witness to hate and love, two extreme emotions, each one so powerful in its own way.

We saw the graffiti spray painted onto our house, staining the walls of a home that has kept us safe for over 30 years. Pieces of broken glass were picked up off of the ground of our home, representing exactly how we felt inside.

And as we scrubbed off the red spray paint on the front of our home, we realized the images of that night will forever remain imprinted in our minds.

In these last few weeks, we have felt so much love and kindness that we have had no choice but to focus on the positive rather than the hurt.

READ ALSO: Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Summerland home

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Parade held to show support for Summerland family targeted by racism

We cannot express how much each and every act of support has meant. We are grateful for every phone call, email, and letter received from those near and far. We have been surrounded by beautiful flowers, artwork and delicious baking.

It has also been a privilege to meet so many members of our community that walked up the driveway to offer kind words of support. We were also so lucky to experience the emotional parade in front of our home. It was such a surreal moment to see how our community gathered so quickly to show us support and to celebrate unity.

As car after car drove by, we were blown away by the smiles, waves and cheers we received. From newborns to seniors, individuals of all races, we felt the love from each and every one of you.

We want to express our sincere gratitude for all of those who have offered their support, time and resources towards our family.

We would especially like to thank Summerland Window and Glass for quickly replacing our bedroom windows, Stucco Surgeon for their unbelievable work, Telus for offering their security services and for Stutters Restoration for helping with the all other additional clean up.

We would also like to thank all the generous individuals who wanted to financially help us in erasing the vandalism. Our family has decided to direct that money towards a GoFundMe campaign, to capture the love we have felt, and place an eternal symbol in Summerland that will forever celebrate unity and diversity.

A combined $20,000 has been raised through GoFundMe and private donations, completely exceeding our expectations. We look forward to working with members of the community to collaborate on the symbol of unity. If you have any suggestions, please send them to abhi_lekhi@hotmail.com.

READ ALSO: Racist act sparks Summerland family to raise funds for unity display

We understand this is not the first, or worst, act of racism to have occurred. Unfortunately, it is still an ongoing problem around the world, and has led to devastating outcomes.

This incident has reminded us that racism can exist everywhere.

We can only imagine what others feel like when they are subjected to prejudice, discrimination and hateful behaviour because of the colour of their skin. Each of us has the power to stand up against racism and intolerant behaviour. We can continue the conversation and help make a change by educating ourselves, our families and all future generations.

Summerland is our hometown. It is the place where we grew as a family, made lifelong friends and the place we so proudly call our own. Please know that we have seen the hurt in your eyes, we have experienced your love, but above all, we have remembered that this is what Summerland truly is, what Canada really is.

We share a bond that has never been determined by the colour of our skin, but rather, the relationships in our hearts.

And though our heart is so full from all of the love and support we have received, we have realized that even in the brightest of places, darkness can exist.

The Lekhi Family

Summerland

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