February 15, 2023

Be More Than A Bystander Program Continues Fight Against Gender-Based Violence

Written by Ryan Bailey- Just hours after inking a two-year contract extension last week, Lions offensive lineman Sukh Chungh was at King George Secondary School in Vancouver for a Be More Than a Bystander presentation.

The program is a groundbreaking initiative between the Ending Violence Association of British Columbia (EVA BC) and the BC Lions aimed at increasing the understanding regarding the impact of gender-based violence. Presenting partners include the Province of British Columbia, Teck Resources and the BC Maritime Employers Association. The program is also supported by the BC Federation of Labour.

Click HERE to learn all about this important initiative.

“I’m very thankful and honoured that the Lions have given me this platform to come and speak to schools,” said Chungh on his role with the program.

Chungh looks back at his youth and recalls when BC Lions players visited his school and took the time to chat with him. Those players left an impression on him that he now passes on to the next generation.

The players took time after their presentation to chat one on one with students and also gathered in a breakout room to get to know these students on a more personal level.

“It’s really nice to have that feedback from students that are listening and have questions about the presentation or sometimes questions about how to get involved with counselors and volunteers. It feels good that I can give back to my community so they can use the resources we’ve provided,” added Chungh.

The athletes offer tools and insight that allow students to better communicate and safely act upon gender-based violence.

King George Secondary School Principal Tyler Evans says the Be More Than a Bystander program pairs well with the goals of the school:

“Our goals are built around equity and making sure that all groups are represented. One of the neat things that all VSB (Vancouver School Board) secondary schools have added is a ‘safe and caring school worker.’”

Left to right: former Lion Peter Godber, King George principal Tyler Evans, vice-principal David Nicks, Lion o-lineman Sukh Chungh, BCMEA director, public affairs Marissa Chan-Kent.

Evans recognizes that students may be afraid of consequences from principals and administrators, so the safe and caring school worker focuses solely on safety and provides a discrete, non-authoritative resource for students to raise their concerns.

Not only does the Be More Than a Bystander program reach out to youth in the community, but the program also extends to British Columbia’s waterfront workforce. The BC Maritime Employers Association champions this program and says change is needed in their industry.

Added Marissa Chan-Kent,  BCMEA Director of public affairs and corporate social responsibility:

“We know that the waterfront can be a tough place to work and we want to be leaders in changing that culture.

We partnered with the Federal Government, the Ending Violence Association of BC, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union of Canada and the BC Lions to implement training in the Be More Than a Bystander Program for over 7000 longshore workers. We really thought that the work being done here in schools was relevant to the workforce.”

No matter who the message is being presented to, the program continues to educate people on the impacts of gender-based violence and how to create safer environments for everyone.

The Be More Than a Bystander program delivers gender-based violence messaging through a variety of mediums including sideline tent Signage, PSAs on video and radio during Lions games as well as LED, concourse screens, and game-day program ads.