“As I have benefitted from the work and progress of other women, the least I can do is be an active supporter of the work of other women and those who come after me.” - Rachna Singh, MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers -
In addition to the honour of representing Surrey - Green Timbers as the MLA, Rachna is proud to serve as the BC’s Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives. She has been a longtime trade-unionist and an activist - her activism spans from fighting for Human Rights of people, gender equality, to bringing justice and dignity to the lives of the underprivileged, which she has continued in her capacity as an elected official. Prior to her election as an MLA in 2017, she served as the staff National Representative for Canadian Union of Public Employees, and has also worked as a psychologist and a counsellor. Most of all, though, she is the proud mother of two brave and intelligent children, and the wife of a journalist and activist.
What does being a woman mean to you?
Being a woman means living a layered life, from a mother to an activist, and, most times, with no distinct boundaries. I define it as a gender that represents not just being the giver and preserver of life, but also one that represents compassion, fierceness and progress. For me, the word ‘woman’ has come to represent both traditional and contemporary values of resilience, unbound care and determination, while also being a word that is attempting to expel traditional gender confines.
What has been your biggest achievement in 2020, personally and professionally?
Being given the responsibility for as vital a portfolio as Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives is an achievement I hold close to my heart. And especially in a climate like today’s, I recognize the honour and the immense responsibility it entails, and one I am determined to execute to the best of my abilities. Another achievement for me is having the privilege of representing Surrey Green-Timbers, as an active member of a provincial government that continues to navigate BC through a pandemic with progressive and inclusive policies.
Personally, as a mother, I feel raising well-rounded and socially-conscious children, while also fighting for justice for the underprivileged and trying to push the limits of acceptance and inclusion as an activist, are achievements that are undervalued and many times go underrecognized.
A milestone that defines your journey?
Besides the milestones for my family, one that has defined me is achieving success while advocating for worker’s rights as a national rep for CUPE. However, I also think that the anti-racism, gender advocacy and affordability work that I remain committed to is a milestone towards which I am currently working.
What are you working on right now and in 2021?
The Parliamentary Secretary portfolio that I am undertaking is an extensive project as our government attempts to tackle the hidden vice of systemic racism and remedy how it impedes our province from fulfilling its promise of inclusion and true diversity for a vast segment of British Columbians. I am also a part of many gender equality, affordability and reform initiatives that aim to make life better for all residents, and not just a select few. Besides these, I feel, the project of self-evolution is a vital one, because without our own growth, we cannot fight to bring growth to others.
Who inspires you to do better each day?
Although I can recount many well-known people that have inspired me throughout my life, I think my children and their future inspires me the most. I also take inspiration in different ways from my family and many of my friends, however, I would be remiss to not mention everyday women and men whose work and activism I stand on the shoulders of and try to emulate. To me, basically anyone who speaks truth to power and fights injustice is an inspiration in their own special way. I have always believed in being sincere in my work but determined in my effort. That said, I also feel, that we, as a society, have reached a place where the terms of success need to be redefined.
What’s your advice for women who wish to follow your path?
Of what I have learnt, the most intersectional advice that I may offer is that privilege shared is privilege earned – by which I mean that if we use our privilege to work for, and share it with, others, all our lives become better. But that cannot be achieved without working hard and being active in our communities. Our recognition of others’ perspectives only creates more empathy, which in turn creates a better world. Last, but not least, I would want to say that, as I have benefitted from the work and progress of other women, the least I can do is be an active supporter of the work of other women and those who come after me.
Photo: A Master Media