We Are Caring: David Dalley
November 15, 2016

David Dalley

Connecting People of Diverse Faiths in Surrey

Canadian-born David Dalley wants to help connect people of different faiths in Surrey. As co-founder of the Surrey Interfaith Council, David cares about bringing people together, and ensuring the community of Surrey — specifically his neighbourhood of Newton — where he’s lived for 14 years, is a welcoming and harmonious place to live for all.

The goal of the Surrey Interfaith Council is to create respect and understanding among different religious and spiritual communities, through education, making connections and demonstrating compassion and social justice, he explains.

That’s no easy task. As world events show, religious differences can be a divisive force. But in a country like Canada that is committed to multiculturalism and religious freedom, it’s imperative that bridges are built between people of different faiths. And that’s what David, who defines himself as a Humanist Unitarian, hopes to do. Indeed, the basis of Humanism and Unitarianism is focused on creating an accepting community, doing good in the world and helping one another.                                            

“I am drawn to people and projects that create a safe space for all of us to work collaboratively across differences of race, culture, power and status,” he says.

Despite his desire to effect positive change, David understands that the issues are complex, that systemic racism exists, and that, as a Caucasian male, he is coming from a place of privilege.

He remembers a pivotal moment that put this into perspective for him. “I was talking to an acquaintance who is a visible minority who was encountering difficulties in organizing a community event. She attributed the difficulty she was having to racism and people not wanting to work with her because of her ethnic background. She said, ‘But you are white, so you wouldn’t understand.’”

David wasn’t sure how to react.

“There is truth to this in that no one can fully understand the experience of another, especially across cultural and racial differences. However, the comment seemed to say that my ideas were of less value and I felt that it limited possibilities for dialogue and trust-building rather than to build them up. While I know that we do not all share the same experiences, I want to understand the experiences of others as much as I can. I am grateful for people that invite me into their stories and perspectives in ways that allow us to work more effectively toward justice and equality.”

David, who is a physiotherapist by profession, as sole proprietor of Moving Together Physiotherapy and Consulting in Surrey, cares deeply about making a difference in his community.

Through his physiotherapy work, he strives to improve the health of kids and seniors.

David, a dedicated family man who loves spending time with his kids, is also a leading volunteer with two other Surrey organizations: Village Surrey Transition Initiative and the Friends of the Grove. Village Surrey is an organization focused on sustainability, community resilience and food security, while the Grove is an initiative to reclaim in a positive way the forested area in Newton where the violent attack of Julie Paskall took place.

Based on all of his experiences and efforts, David says he sees Surrey as a community in transition, with people from all corners of the globe trying to understand how they fit together. “Lately, I sense an increasing spirit of creativity and experimentation in Surrey as we try to figure out who we are as a community,” he says.

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