“I think there’s no higher calling in terms of a career than public service, which is a chance to make a difference in people’s lives and improve the world.” –Jack Lew
Members of the Filipino-Canadian community in Surrey, British Columbia, located within Metro Vancouver in Canada, are excited to have one of their community leaders, Narima dela Cruz, handpicked by Surrey First, a local political organization, to run for City Council.
“Surrey residents are looking for individuals who have the experience building [a] community and who have become engaged volunteer community leaders simply because they want to further improve this great city,” she declared. “Our team, Surrey First, is a thoughtful reflection of our community, with an incredible diversity of ideas, culture, and experiences to work with people and get things done.”
Dela Cruz is running on the same ticket with incumbent City Councilor Tom Gill, a candidate for mayor who has the support of former Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts. Incumbent Mayor Linda Hepner, another Surrey First member, earlier announced she would not seek reelection.
A licensed realtor and founding director of the Surrey Philippine Independence Society (SPIDS), where she serves as president, she is backed by Mable Elmore, the first Filipino elected to the British Columbia legislative assembly. Prior to founding the massively-expanding organization, Dela Cruz was an active community servant and worked as an administrative assistant.
An immigrant from Quezon province, she and her family, her husband and son, arrived in Canada in 1998. Their daughter was later born in the Canadian province of Manitoba. She has since been named among Canada’s top 25 immigrants in 2012 and won the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver’s Realtors Care Award in 2011 for her volunteer work.
Local paper, the MetroVan Independent, reported on Dela Cruz last month, writing: “Narima’s fondness and passion for public service and people-oriented activities had her initiate [SPIDS]. Narima is also a court and medical interpreter, and long-time community advocate and volunteer. In addition to being a past chair of the Parent Advisory Council at Johnston Heights Secondary, she volunteers with the Canadian Cancer Society, Surrey Food Bank and BC Transplant Society.”
Among her other accolades include the FilCan Network for Truth & Justice Leadership Excellence Award, Canada 150 Community Award for Excellence in Volunteerism, CEU Outstanding Alumni and Global Exemplar Escolarian Awards, Sutton Group Director Award for Sales Excellence, Bb. Pilipinas of the World’s Most Outstanding Filipinos in North America, and Surrey-North Delta Leader 1st Reader’s Choice Award.
She has also been nominated for a YWCA Women of Distinction Award, First Surrey Cares Serving with Distinction Award, 1st National Canadian Realtors Care Award, and Surrey Women in Business Award; along with an honorable mention in the CLA Surrey-North Delta Leader-Community Leader Awards.
In 2012, Dela Cruz was recognized in the Most Beautiful Filipinos in Canada Awards.
She is introduced on the campaign trail as “an active volunteer and voice for marginalized people, working to ensure immigrant communities feel included.”
Meanwhile, another Filipino-Canadian running for office is Jojo Quimpo, who is running for a seat on the Vancouver City Council under the Non-Partisan Association.
Election Day is on October 20, with “advance voting opportunities” on October 6, 10, 11 and 13./WDJ