Kamal Dhillon accepted her award from MLA Mary Polak (not pictured) during a ceremony at Douglas Park Recreation Centre on May 24.

Kamal Dhillon accepted her award from MLA Mary Polak (not pictured) during a ceremony at Douglas Park Recreation Centre on May 24.

Langley woman honoured for bravery and personal sacrifice

Kamal Dhillon is among first to receive B.C.’s Medal of Good Citizenship

A Langley City resident has received B.C.’s newest honour thanks to her personal sacrifice and exceptional work against domestic violence.

Kamal Dhillon was presented with the prestigious Medal of Good Citizenship at a ceremony in Douglas Park on May 24.

Introduced in 2015, the medal recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to their communities with no thought of remuneration or reward.

Surrounded by family, friends and supporters, Dhillon — who endured 12 years of brutal domestic abuse — accepted her awarded with deep gratitude.

“I always say, awards from people are rewards from God,” she said.

“Thank you for this honour, it means so much to me.”

Dhillon is the author of Black and Blue Sari, a book that details the years she spent living with her abusive husband, and her subsequent escape and survival.

Today, she works as an advocate against domestic abuse and shares her story at events across the country.

“My message today would be not to keep this a secret, we’ve hidden behind pride and shame for far too long … I also thank God that he kept me for days like this and he kept me to give you, and others and myself, hope that there is something better tomorrow — that I am not to give up, and neither are you,” she said.

“Now, as I receive this reward, I receive it on behalf of all victims of all kinds of abuse. To them I say, ‘You are not alone.’ And today, as you have presented me with this award, I will not let you down. I will speak, I will fight.”

Not long ago, Dhillon says, she was rushed to the hospital with a serious heart condition, and after recovering was asked by an acquaintance if she had nine lives.

“And I thought, ‘No it’s because somebody’s got to fight with the politicians,’” she said with a laugh.

“And so I guess I am here for a reason, and I’ll keep fighting and I’ll keep taking my message to Victoria, to Ottawa, to make sure that children’s parents can go to sleep at night knowing that (their) daughters and (their) sons are safe.”

The Medal of Good Citizenship was presented by Langley MLA Mary Polak, who commended Dhillon for her courage.

“Kamal, you know that you are among a select group of British Columbians to receive this medal, you are most worthy of this honour because of your focused commitment to building awareness around the issues of domestic abuse,” Polak said.

“The countless hours that you have devoted to making your community stronger, for your assistance to fellow citizens, many of which are very vulnerable, and for your boundless generosity in spite of all your own struggles.”

Langley City Mayor Ted Schaffer echoed Polak’s comments, adding that it is an “honour” to have a resident like Dhillon in the City of Langley.

“While I can’t begin to comprehend what you have experienced as a victim of domestic violence, I can say that I truly admire you and your tremendous courage beyond that situation,” Schaffer said.

“You’ve turned that time in your life into an opportunity. You’ve become an author, an educator, a true inspiration. You found a way to give hope to those who sometimes feel hopeless.”

Nominations for the Medal of Good Citizenship are accepted year-round.  To make a nomination, visit www.gov.bc.ca/medalofgoodcitizenship.

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