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.

Just Posted

Forestry workers set to begin job action in Kootenays

Operations in Castlegar, Cranbrook, Galloway, Elko, Radium, Golden may see job action this week.

Road trip comes to end with split for Grand Forks Border Bruins

The team is coming off its longest road trip this season.

Grand Forks high school students remember

The school and the Legion joined for the annual Remembrance Day ceremony.

Letter: English town remembers Grand Forks on anniversary of Armistice

Phillip Morris writes from Shrewsbury, England.

Children’s books needed for Christmas hampers

Considering donating some books this Christmas.

Saving salmon: B.C. business man believes hatcheries can help bring back the fish

Tony Allard worked with a central coast First Nation to enhance salmon stocks

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

Most Read