Nick Cooper is heavily involved with inclusion and diversity groups in Canada but he faces deportation due to membership in extremist groups in England in the 1990s. (Change.org)

Nick Cooper is heavily involved with inclusion and diversity groups in Canada but he faces deportation due to membership in extremist groups in England in the 1990s. (Change.org)

B.C. man faces deportation for membership in hate groups in England in 1990s

Friends rally to support Nick Cooper who is now a vocal advocate for diversity and inclusion

Sixteen years ago, Nick Cooper had a maternity ward conversion from hatemonger to lover of inclusivity.

Once member of racist extremist groups in London, England, Cooper is now part of a group called Life After Hate, he’s involved with Cycling4Diversity, and more locally, a Facebook group called Inclusion Chilliwack.

And earlier this month a Tweet of Cooper’s went viral around the world after he painted over a swastika adorned with racist language under a bridge at Eagle Landing. That Tweet received more than 350,000 likes in just four days.

• READ MORE: Chilliwack man’s Tweet about painting over racist graffiti goes viral

But despite what seems like almost two decades of penance for mistakes he made in the 1990s, those choices are coming back to haunt him in the form of a possible deportation via the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

His friends are rallying around him hoping he is judged on the man he is today rather than who he used to be.

“After hearing Nick’s story and knowing him personally for the past year, I would be incredibly saddened to see Nick deported,” said friend Stacey Wakelin. “What inspires me most about Nick is his capacity to remain true to his mission in life – to share kindness and to drown out hate. The mistakes made while he was young are being used to make this country a better place.”

On Monday, Cycling4Diversity executive director Anne-Marie Sjoden started a “Keep Nick Cooper in Canada” petition via Change.org with a goal of reaching 500 signatures. By Wednesday at noon it had 300.

“According to friends, his immigration issues stem from some choices he made back in the early 1990s, when he was involved with a hate group that had ties to planned terror plots,” the petition reads. “Nick Cooper has been trying to make a better life for himself and his family. He has been doing public speaking on his past life and how he regrets his life as a member of a Hate group.”

Cooper’s change of heart came when his wife was in labour in 2000 in England. As a racist at the time, he didn’t want any non-white hospital staff helping them.

But there was trouble with the birth and his wife had to go for an emergency C-section. That’s when the lives of his wife and daughter were saved by a doctor of Indian descent and an Afro-Caribbean nurse.

He apologized to the nurse who he had been very rude to, and she brought him a cup of tea.

“That little bit of compassion that she showed me when I least deserved it, it just changed my entire life,” Cooper said.

“Now I’m trying me best to bring light out of darkness. Because that was a very dark time in my life. My message is, don’t do that because it it’s wrong. Everyone deserves to live a life in safety.”

His immigration status now in question thanks to mistakes me made in the 1990s, Cooper and his friends just hope Canada will let him stay.

“Nick uses his story to educate our youth and illustrate the destructive impact hate or discrimination has on society,” Wakelin said. “I do not believe that the mistakes Nick made as an angry 20-year-old man, warrant his deportation today.”

“He has more than earned it and wants to make it right,” Cycling4Diversity founder Ken Herar said on Facebook. “Second chances are important in life.”


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A puppy stolen from a West Kelowna residence has been reunited with its family. (Kelowna RCMP)
Stolen puppy reunited with West Kelowna family

A happy ending; puppy stolen from West Kelowna vehicle found in Kelowna, returned to family

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Kelowna’s top cop removing barriers for women in the force

Kara Triance’s journey to becoming a police chief was not without its challenges

Ella Lamourexu. (Phil McLachlan, Kelowna Capital News)
Kelowna’s drag story

Ella Lamourexu explains the history behind drag in Kelowna

Pixabay.com
Kelowna Capital News presents Women in Business: 2021

Editor’s note on this year’s Women in Business

Calls for potential overdoses in B.C. spiked in 2020, especially in the Okanagan - Shuswap. Pictured above is a BCEHS re-enactment of paramedics attending an overdose. (BCHES photo)
UBCO program increases drug checking availability in Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon

January 2021 data shows of 95 opioid samples tested across Interior Health, 93 contained fentanyl

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

The Salmon Arm Economic Development Society released a video on Feb. 22, 2021 promoting agriculture and food production in Salmon Arm and the Shuswap. (SAEDS image)
New video promotes Salmon Arm staples of agriculture, food production

Three-minute video from economic development featuring local producers receives appreciative reviews

One person was extricated from a vehicle that rolled off Highway 97 Feb. 25, 2021, near Clerke Road in Coldstream around 2 p.m. (Roger Knox - Vernon Morning Star)
Two hurt in Highway 97 rollover south of Vernon

Ambulance transfers two patients with non-life-threatening injuries

The BC Prosecution Service announced last year that it was appointing lawyer Marilyn Sandford as a special prosecutor to review the case, following media inquiries about disclosure issues linked to a pathologist involved in the matter. (Black Press Media files)
Possible miscarriage of justice in B.C. woman’s conviction in toddler drowning: prosecutor

Tammy Bouvette was originally charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty in 2013 to the lesser charge

A kid in elementary school wearing a face mask amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Metro Creative)
Union asks why an elementary school mask rule wouldn’t work in B.C. if it does elsewhere

B.C. education minister announced expansion of mask-wearing rules in middle, high school but not elementary students

A pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
Canada approves use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

The country joins more than a dozen others in giving the shot the green light

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Veteran Vernon radio announcer Frank Martina is returning to the local airwaves with his popular Saturday Classics show, which will run from 1-4 p.m. on Vernon’s new community station Valley FM, set to launch in the fall of 2021. (Morning Star - file photo)
Vernon radio announcer returning to airwaves

New community station Valley FM reaches deal with Frank Martina to air his Classics show

Most Read