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Monday, April 19, 2010

New anti-racism website started local and grew

New anti-racism website started local and grew
By Michael C.K. Ma
April 16, 2010


Rachel Gurofsky was working late one night, trying to meet a deadline. In the morning she was going to jump on the TTC and meet her boss at Union Station on Front Street in Toronto and hand over the research she was doing.

Although it was only partly finished, she knew that the new anti-racism website plan was going to be a great resource. She had sifted through hundreds of similar sites that dealt with issues relating to racism and diversity, and what struck her most about these sites was how un-user-friendly they were, how difficult to navigate, and how information was often not well organized and scattered across numerous sites. She promised herself that the website she had in mind would be better.

The boss she was meeting that morning was me. The site we later launched became The Anti-Racism Resource Centre.

We wanted the website to be a clearinghouse of information related to ending hate crime, racism and discrimination in Peterborough and surrounding areas. The impetus for this website came from a series of racially motivated attacks on Asian-Canadian anglers in southern and central Ontario in the summer of 2007, attacks which continued into the summer of 2009.

It is a user-friendly site designed for educators, employers, students, and the community-at-large. Although the site is hosted and updated by a local institution, Community and Race Relations Committee of Peterborough, the information is applicable across many sectors and provinces.

The site organizes anti-racism resources for web users under six headings:

• Racism 101: Where users are provided with a no-nonsense plain language explanation of issues and terms. An extensive glossary of terms is also provided,
• What are My Rights?: Employee rights and human rights are explained,
• For Employers: Information and resources are provided to help employers better understand and implement anti-discrimination and diversity policies in the workplace,
• For Educators: Useful educational resources for teachers and students are provided,
• Global Issues: Provides an international context for issues regarding race and racism,
• Youth Strike Back: Action orientated activities are profiled showing how a younger generation are responding to issues of racism.

As the co-ordinator of the CRRC, my job was to outreach and organize around issues pertaining to race and racism. In the fall of 2007, my board of directors instructed me to make an online version of the resources that we offer through our local office. Little did I know that a few years later we would launch this significant resource -- made possible from a grant from the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. It far exceeded our original intentions.

At first, the goal was simple: to make a website that would serve Peterborough only, but after Gurofsky presented her findings, which showed that the web lacked a good site aggregating useful information regarding racism, we both knew that we had a chance to make a site that could have a much bigger scope, bigger potential, and be able to serve both users in Peterborough and outside. The need seemed great.

We then sought out a web designer to help us organize the content for the web. We knew what we wanted, and we had an idea of how the information should be organized, but the hard part was knowing how to visually realize that in a user friendly interface.

But it wasn't as straightforward as we first thought.

"It is easy to design something specifically for youth, or for employers, or for employees, but it is another thing to design one site that can do all those things at once, and do it well," said Teena Aujla, who was eventually brought in as the designer.

"For example, a worker looking for information regarding their rights might need specific workplace information. But then in another section, for youth, the user might just want to find out about more general issues regarding racism for a school project. Younger users might be interested in finding out about a cool YouTube videos, but an employee looking for info on workplace issues won't be interested. You have to keep in mind you're serving multiple types of users... It was a balancing act."

Since we launched we have been getting around 600 unique visitors a month -- a good start. Interestingly, and as we expected, the majority of users are from outside the Peterborough area, with 10 per cent coming from the United States, and five per cent coming from other parts of the world -- including Singapore, The Republic of Korea, South Africa, Uganda, and Mexico.

It shows the need for such a resource.

Michael C.K. Ma is an activist scholar who researches and works on issues pertaining to social justice, ethno-racial politics, community activism, and immigrant resettlement. He teaches in the department of criminology at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, B.C.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Hari Sharma - Anti-Racist Activist (1934- 2010)

Hari Sharma

It is with deepest sorrow that we announce the death of our friend and comrade, Hari Prakash Sharma, on March 16 following a prolonged battle with cancer. Hari took his last breath in his home of 42 years at Burnaby (a suburb of Vancouver), British Columbia, surrounded by his comrades Harinder Mahil, Raj Chouhan, and Chin Banerjee. All of them had come together in 1976 to form the Vancouver Chapter of the Indian People’s Association in North America (IPANA), which had been founded by Hari and many others at a meeting in Montreal in 1975.

Hari was born on [November 9], 1934 at Dadri in Uttar Pradesh though his family came from Haryana. His father was a railway employee, so he moved from one place to another wherever his father was posted. Hari received his BA from Agra University and his Master’s in Social Work from Delhi University. The insight into the social life of India Hari got from his travels by train enabled by his father’s employment in the railways and his extensive travels by foot through the villages of India stimulated Hari to start writing short stories in Hindi. Hari is regarded as one of the finest writers of short stories in Hindi and many people had urged him to resume his writing in Hindi. One of his stories was adapted as a play and staged in New Delhi.

Hari moved to the US in 1963 for further education and did his Master in Social Work from the Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, in 1964 and Ph.D. in sociology from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY in 1968. He taught briefly at UCLA before accepting a position at Simon Fraser University, British Columbia in 1968, where he stayed till his retirement in 1999. He was honored by the University as Professor Emeritus.

Hari, like many enlightened academics of the 1960’s plunged in the anti-Vietnam war movement in the US and Canada. This is also the period when he espoused Marxism, which ideology he held dearly and steadfastly until his death.

As a member of the Faculty of Simon Fraser University he became a champion of the academic rights of colleagues who were faced with the threat of dismissal for their support of the student-led movement for democratizing the university. He became an associate and friend of another Marxist Kathleen Gough, who was suspended for her political activities. Kathleen Gough and Hari P. Sharma co-edited the 469-page book, Imperialism and Revolution in South Asia, which was published in 1973 by the Monthly Review Press, New York. The book was sought by political activists of that time and many people know of Hari as an eminent leftist scholar because of that book.

The 1960’s were a period of international revolutionary upheaval. The Naxalbari peasant uprising happened in the spring of 1967. Hari was greatly inspired by it. He went to India and visited Naxalbari area. It is then he got committed to the path opened by Naxalbaaari and retained his faith in its ultimate success until his last days, while many of his comrades had simply written off Naxalbari as a thing of the past. Hari developed contact with peasant revolutionaries and maintained a living contact till his last days.

While associating with the Naxalbari movement in India, Hari carried on anti-imperialist work in Vancouver through the weekly paper, Georgia Straight, published by the Georgia Straight Collective, of which he was a founding member. In 1973 Hari went to the Amnesty International in London and the Commission of Jurists in Geneva and sent a written representation to the UN Human Rights Commission to publicize the condition of more than thirty-thousand political prisoners in Indian jails.

In 1974 he and his comrade Gautam Appa of the London School of Economics organized a petition of international scholars to protest the treatment of political prisoners in India, which he handed to the Indian Consulate in Vancouver, BC on August 15 of the same year.

In 1975 Hari enthusiastically accepted an invitation from his friends in Montreal. He along with many others founded the Indian People’s Association in North America (IPANA) on June 25, 1975, exactly on the same day on which Indira Gandhi declared the State of Emergency in India. Hari’s tireless work against dictatorship in India and in defense of political prisoners and oppressed peoples, and his energetic organization of progressive people across North America in the struggle against Imperialism and for social justice, led to the revocation of his passport by the Indira Gandhi government in 1976.

Having engaged in various anti-racist struggles in the 1970s, IPANA in Vancouver, under Hari’s leadership became a primary force in the formation of the British Columbia Organization to Fight Racism (BCOFR: 1980), which proved to be an extremely effective instrument against the tide of racism in the province at the time. Hari and IPANA also played a leading role in the formation of the Canadian Farmworkers’ Union (CFU: 1980), which for the first time took up the cause of farm workers who had been historically excluded from protection under the labour laws and any protective regulation.

From the 1980s Hari’s work also began to focus on the condition of minorities in India, which came to a crisis with the attack on the Golden Temple and the massacre of Sikhs in Delhi in 1984 following the assassination of Indira Gandhi. Hari stood firm in his defense of the human rights of Sikhs and, increasingly of Muslims who became the primary targets of the rising Hindutva forces gathered under the banner of the Bhartiya Janata Party. He organized a parallel conference on the centralization of state power and the threat to minorities in India to coincide with the Commonwealth Conference in Vancouver in 1987.

In 1989 Hari brought large sections of the South Asian community together to form the Komagata Maru Historical Society to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Komagata Maru incident, in which Indian immigrants traveling to Canada on a chartered ship were turned away from the shores of Vancouver by the racist policies of the Canadian Government. As a result of the society’s work a commemorative plaque was installed in Vancouver. In 2004, during a screening of the documentary film on this incident by Ali Kazimi, Continuous Journey, the Mayor of Vancouver presented a scroll to Hari dedicating the week to the memory of Komagata Maru.

Following the attack on Babri Masjid in December 1992 Hari became the prime mover in the formation of a North American organization dedicated to the defense of minority rights in India called, Non-resident Indians for Secularism and Democracy (NRISAD). This organization brought together Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims, and Christians of origin in South Asia through educational and cultural activities. It had its most significant moment in Vancouver in 1997, when it celebrated the 50th anniversary of the independence of India from colonial rule by bringing together people from the entire spectrum of the South Asian community to focus on how much remained to be done on the subcontinent and the urgent need for peace between Pakistan and India.

Recognizing the need to build a North American front against the growing menace of Hindutva fascism in India, Hari travelled to Montreal in September 1999 to join the founding of International Soth Asia Forum (INSAF). He became is first President and organized the Second Conference in Vancouver from Augst10-12, 2001.

Hari’s leadership again led to the development of NRISAD into South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD) in Vancouver to embrace the necessity of going beyond a focus on India to the entire South Asian region in the quest of peace and democracy based on secularism, human rights and social justice. SANSAD has pursued these goals vigorously, condemning the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 (for which he was denied a visa to go to India), championing the human rights of Kashmiris, promoting peace between Pakistan and India, supporting the rights of women in Pakistan, condemning violence against journalists and academics in Bangladesh, supporting the movement for democracy and social justice in Nepal, and defending the human rights of Tamils under the attack of the Sri Lankan state.

Besides being an able political organizer and a gifted writer of short stories, Hari was also a talented photographer. He photographed the common people of India, their lives and struggles. His photpgraphs hang in many homes and have been displayed in many exhibitions. He proved himself to be an excellent director of political drama.

Political ideals remain steadfast. However, there has, naturally been, divergence of opinion on the strategy and tactics of achieving these ideals. During the course of long political activity of more than 50 years, Hari made many friends and comrades. It is natural that among these comrades there also arose disagreements on many issues. Nevertheless, Hari remained a comrade or a friend of all of them and they all are deeply saddened by his passing away.

Hari leaves behind him a legacy of activism in the service of the oppressed. He is an inspiration to engagement in the struggle for a better world, to a never-flagging effort to create a world without exploitation, without imperialist domination, without religious, caste, ethnic or gender oppression, a world that Marx envisioned as human destiny.

Chin Banerjee

Harinder Mahil

Raj Chouhan

Daya Varma

Vinod Mubayi

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Anti-racism web site launched

Mike Ma of the Community and Race Relations Committee stands in front of the homepage of the committee's new anti-racism information website.


Anti-racism web site launched Community and Race Relations Committee initiative aims to fill online information void

Sarah Frank (PETERBOROUGH) The Community and Race Relations Committee launched its online Anti-Racism Resource Centre Friday (Feb. 5).

The committee's website -- -- aims to provide useful information to students, educators and community members on racism and hate crime. Mike Ma points to a lack of accurate, current information when searching anti-racism on the web.

"You get a lot of dead links and out-of-date information," he says.

Mr. Ma hopes this site will eventually be one of the first three hits when anti-racism is searched through Google.

Leslie Harries-Jones, victim services co-ordinator with the Peterborough-Lakefield Community Police Service, is excited over the site.

"It's important for people involved in hate crimes to be able to go online and understand their rights," says Ms Harries-Jones, noting police work closely with the committee and will be able to provide additional input for the site.

Peterborough-Lakefield police staff sergeant Service John Lyons says the station received 26 reported hate bias incidents in 2009.

"Twenty-six doesn't sound like a lot," says Mr. Lyons.

"But it's 26 too many."

Sgt. Lyons hopes the site will give an online presence to the community support available from groups such as the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) committee and the up-and-coming Hate Bias Committee being formed by Trent University students.

Committee chair Nadine Changfoot says the site will be a great resource.

"It is a much-needed contribution to the world of online information because it lays out complex issues in a clear and comprehensive manner that is easy to understand."

"We've really hit a home run," add Mr. Ma.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Racial attack leads to guilty verdict

Professional motorcycle racer pushed Asian fishermen into water, sparking wild car chase

Gail Swainson Urban Affairs Reporter
The Toronto Star

Published On Wed Dec 16 2009


Trevor Middleton will be sentenced in 2010 for aggravated assault, criminal negligence.

A 23-year-old Georgina Township man has been found guilty of aggravated assault and criminal negligence causing bodily harm following a racially motivated attack on a group of Asian anglers in 2007.

The incident sparked a wild, early-morning car chase that left a young man permanently brain damaged and in a wheelchair.

An eight-woman, four-man jury found Trevor Middleton guilty on all six charges – two charges of criminal negligence causing bodily harm and four of aggravated assault at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

Middleton, a professional motorcycle racer, was accused of repeatedly ramming his pickup truck into a Honda Civic driven by angler Ruohang Liu after a dispute following a "nip-tipping," a racist term used to describe pushing Asian fishermen into the water.

The incident started after Liu and his friend Charles Hogan were pushed into the water at a popular Sutton-area fishing spot.

Court heard Liu was fishing with Hogan and longtime friends Shayne Berwick and Shiv Kumar at the "Blue Bridge" of Mossington Park.

The family of Berwick – who suffered severe brain damage that has left him in a wheelchair after Middleton ran the car into a tree with his truck – held hands tightly and wept after the decision was read.

Outside the courtroom, Berwick's father, Colin, said the family is gratified with the conviction.

"Now we are just trying to get Shayne back to where he was before," Colin Berwick told a crush of reporters. "But we didn't see the (outcome) being any other way. The evidence was overwhelming."

Brad Lee, spokesman for a group of Asian Canadians, urged Justice Alfred Stong to give Middleton a stiff jail sentence in the hope it will act as a deterrent.

Since 2007, there have been 25 reported attacks on Asian anglers, many on Lake Simcoe, Lee said.

"We are hoping the judge will consider hate crimes as an aggravating factor in sentencing," Lee said.

Middleton's family and his lawyer Gerald Logan declined to comment.

Middleton is due back in court Jan. 4, when a date is scheduled to be set for sentencing.

During the trial, court heard that three truckloads of youths drove to the fishing spot in the early morning hours of Sept. 16, 2007, in anticipation of "nip-tipping."

The four friends and three others were fishing at the Mossington Park bridge when Middleton and his group of 10 to 20 youths arrived in pickup trucks and an SUV.

Witnesses testified Liu and Hogan were pushed into the water after the youths demanded to see their fishing licences.

Following a scuffle between Kumar and one of Middleton's friends, the four anglers piled into Liu's Civic, with Middleton in pursuit.

Court heard a frantic 911 call to the police from Hogan as the Civic was being rammed by the truck. Hogan said two trucks were trying to drive their car into Lake Simcoe.

Middleton testified he chased the vehicle to make a citizen's arrest after his friend was beaten up.

Liu testified that after his vehicle hit a tree and his friends were ejected, he pleaded for Middleton's help, but was refused. Middleton drove off without calling police.

Hogan was thrown from the vehicle into Lake Simcoe. Berwick suffered a fractured skull, a blood clot on the brain, 10 broken ribs and a punctured lung. He spent three months in a coma and is expected to need constant care for the rest of his life.

Colin Berwick said his son, now 26, was three years into his five-year electrician's apprenticeship when he was injured.

His son has no memory of life before the accident, Berwick added.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Justicia for Migrant Workers - Call for Support

To whom it may concern,

We are writing from Justicia for Migrant Workers (J4MW), a volunteer-run non-profit collective that strives to promote the rights of migrant workers. As students, community, and labour activists, we seek to build relationships of trust with migrant workers, support and empower them to address work-place issues, and to amplify workers’ voices to the public and decision-makers in Canada. We do this through: community outreach in migrant communities in rural Ontario, providing information to migrant workers about their rights, and engaging in ongoing training of legal issues affecting migrant workers.

The Supreme Court of Canada, based on our nine years of organizing to address migrant worker’s precarious status, recently granted J4MW intervener status in the upcoming Ontario (Attorney General) v. Fraser; an important legal challenge for the right to organize Ontario’s 100,000 agricultural workers. As interveners, J4MW will bring forth a unique set of arguments to address the specific plight of Canada’s Seasonal Agricultural Workers and Temporary Foreign Workers. This will be the first time in history, that Canada’s highest court will hear arguments relating to the particular experiences of migrant workers.

We are asking for your support to help us ensure migrant workers’ voices can be heard by the Supreme Court on December 17th. The financial and in kind support will help us to cover the costs of transportation, food, lodging, and other materials associated with organizing a series of events for the day of our court appearance.


Since 1966 thousands of workers from Mexico, Caribbean countries, and South and East Asian countries have come into Canada seeking employment on Canadian farms. However, the conditions of their contract prevent workers from accessing basic social resources like Employment Insurance. Workers are subject to low pay, long hours and dangerous working and living conditions that regularly lead to injury and even death. The exclusion from basic human rights legislation such as Health and Safety, and the explicit prohibition from collective bargaining make workers extremely vulnerable.

Furthermore, worker’s access to healthcare is difficult, given the lack of support and interest from the government, and growers to facilitate transportation to medical centres, and translation when needed. Injured workers are often repatriated back to their home country. In fact, any dispute with the employer typically leads to this unjustified resolution. Recently, legislative changes to immigration law will ban workers’ entry into Canada for six years, after they have completed a four-year period of continuous work.

Although it is widely accepted that migrant workers’ labour is a necessity for the survival of the farm industry, given that domestic workers are not willing or compelled to do farm work, migrant workers are systematically racialized, exploited and oppressed.

These are just some of the issues that governmental programs such as SAWP and TFWP represent for migrant workers. We consider it imperative that the Supreme Court hears arguments that illustrate the reality of overt and systemic racism towards migrant workers.

We are asking that your organization make a donation to help with our costs. Any amount is welcome. If your organization would like to arrange a presentation about this issue for your members please let us know. You may mail a cheque to,

Justicia for Migrant Workers
c/o Workers' Action Centre
720 Spadina Avenue, Suite 223
Toronto ON
M5S 2T9

Thank you for your support.

In solidarity,

Justicia for Migrant Workers

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Elizabeth Ha for Vice-President, Workers of Colour

Trial begins for man on charges related to attacks on fishermen

Trial begins for man on charges related to attacks on fishermen
The Toronto Star
Peter Edwards Staff Reporter
2009/11/26 14:14:11


The night of September 17, 2007 began as a bout of "nip-tipping," when three trucks full of Georgina Township youths planned to throw Asian fishermen into the waters of Simcoe Lake, a Newmarket Court heard.

It ended with several injuries, and one of the fishermen, Shayne Berwick, remains confined in a wheelchair, with permanent brain damage.

Trevor Middleton of Georgina Township faces four counts of aggravated assault and two counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm, for a wild, late-night chase, in which Middleton is accused of ramming a Honda Civic repeatedly with his Ford F-150 truck until the Civic smashed into a tree and ejected Berwick and another passenger.

Berwick's parents were among those who packed the tiny courtroom as Middleton's trial began on Thursday.

Assistant Crown Attorney Amit Ghosh told the jury they would hear evidence that "nip-tipping" is a racist term used by some locals for attacks on Asian fishermen.

On the night that Berwick was severely injured, Ghosh said that Middleton led a group of 10-20 locals in three pickup trucks to the docks, where two fishermen were thrown into the water.

"Many of them had been drinking alcohol, although Mr. Middleton would have consumed little or none himself," Ghosh told the jury in his opening remarks.

All of the attackers except for one then ran to their trucks and drove away, Ghosh said.

The man left behind was severely beaten, and was lying in the road when Middleton returned in his truck moments later.

The trial is expected to last two weeks.

Monday, November 23, 2009

From Crisis to Justice Labour and Community Working Together

Posted on 11/23/09 at 5:53am by Benzinga Staff


TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 20, 2009) - A special Forum bringing together community and labour activists will examine the impacts of the economic crisis on Ontarians, with a particular focus on the disproportionate impact experienced by Ontarians of colour.

The Forum, co-sponsored by the Colour of Poverty Campaign (COPC) and the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) will be held in conjunction with the OFL's Biennial Convention. The goal of the Forum is to build stronger connections between unions and communities of colour so as to broaden our shared understanding of, and to promote shared vision for, racial equity, economic fairness, good jobs and justice for all.

"What the employment statistics from the past year tell us is that while all Ontarians are struggling, racialized workers and their families have been hit especially hard," says Terry Downey executive vice-president of the Ontario Federation of Labour and one of the Forum's co-chairs. "Racialized workers have seen disproportionately larger increases in unemployment rates and disproportionately larger decreases in employment income. This is in line with what we know about the labour market disadvantages that racialized workers experience, even in the best of times."

Avvy Go, Clinic Director of the Metro Toronto Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic and the Forum's other co-chair, notes that while racialized workers could achieve greater job security and better pay from unionization they are less likely to be union members.

"We need to examine why that is so, and together, develop solutions to build communication and co-operation between communities," says Go. "The Forum will allow activists from unions and racialized communities to develop a common action plan that will bring about positive solutions that will benefit all workers. It will promote a "green collar", substainable economy that includes good jobs for all."

The Forum will:

- Link activists from unions and community organizations to advance a shared vision for social, economic and environmental justice in our workplaces and in our communities.

- Develop best practices and policies that can be implemented locally, provincially and nationally through collective bargaining and form the framework to lobby for effective provincial and national employment equity and for organizing legislation.

- Increase public awareness of the potential for "green collar" jobs to provide equitable pathways out of poverty, curb global warming, and transform the economy.

The Forum takes place in Toronto, on November 21, 2009 at the Sheraton Centre Hotel, Toronto, Ontario and will run between 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Guest speakers will include: Uzma Shakir, Atkinson Social Justice Fellow and outgoing Executive Director of the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario (SALC); Fred Redmond, International Vice-President (Human Affairs) of the United Steelworkers, and Hamid Osman, Ontario Representative on the National Executive of the Canadian Federation of Students.

Trial to begin for man accused of attack, car chase

Trial to begin for man accused of attack, car chase
The Toronto Sun
November 22, 2009

Shane Berwick was critically injured in an accident that left him with brain damage and in a wheelchair. (Veronica Henri/Sun Media)

After more than two long years, Shayne Berwick's family is finally hoping to see justice done.

Tomorrow morning, Terry and Colin Berwick will be in Newmarket court for the start of the trial of Trevor Middleton, the Sutton-area man accused in an attack on their son and his Asian-Canadian friends fishing off Mossington Bridge pier near Jackson's Point in the early morning hours of Sept. 16, 2007.

Middleton faces four counts of aggravated assault, four counts of assault with a weapon, two counts of criminal negligence causing bodily harm and two counts of unlawful act causing bodily harm.

It was a case that captured headlines and is being followed closely by Asian-Canadian rights groups.

"We'll be there every day," vows Shayne's dad.

But his 26-year-old son won't be at the jury selection tomorrow. He won't be testifying at the trial.

He still doesn't remember anything about the incident.

During an alleged car chase, Shayne was ejected from the back seat of his friend's Honda Civic after it hit a tree. He was left with such severe head trauma that doctors at Sunnybrook hospital gave him just a 10% chance of survival.

It's been a long, difficult way back.

Shayne spent four months in a coma at Sunnybrook and more than a year in intensive rehabilitation at Bridgepoint Health. He's had to relearn everything -- from his colours to his numbers. He has no long-term memory and no short term, either. He now recognizes his family but can't tell you what he did just a few minutes before.

"He lives for the moment," explains his dad.

Once an apprentice electrician in his own apartment, Shayne is now back living with his devoted parents in a newly wheelchair-accessible home they had to purchase for him last June. His stepmom recently decided to give up her 20-year career at a daycare to stay home and care for him around the clock. "Shayne comes first," she says, looking at him with love as the family sits around the kitchen table. "He's my main priority and I know I made the right decision."

By using ski poles or a walker, Shayne is slowly learning how to walk again. But he must still spend most of his time in his wheelchair and is busy five days a week with various therapy appointments aimed at one day bringing him back to the man he used to be.

"We always hold out hope," his dad says fiercely. "We can't quit now. He's got to get better. That's our push. And he is improving a lot."

It's what they live for, because looking back is just too painful.

His stepbrother, Mike Miceli, was the one who woke to the devastating phone call at 4 a.m. that morning two years ago from a friend telling him Shayne had been airlifted to the hospital and it didn't look good. He knew his brother had gone fishing because he'd asked him a few days before about a good spot, but he never imagined how the outing would end.

"I think it's a good thing that he can't remember what happened at the beginning because he was a mess," recalls Miceli, 24. "It makes me angry. They just went up there to have a good time; nobody deserves to have something like this happen to them. He's never hurt anybody in his life. To have this happen to him, it's terrible.

"He had to fight for his life, he had to fight to get out of his coma, he had to fight to learn how to eat, he had to fight to learn how to take his first step. It's 24 hours, seven days a week for these guys," he says, looking at his parents. "This is the outcome of that night."

He and his brother were always close, going out together, playing hockey, joking about girls. Their relationship has changed but the kidding and the love is obviously still there, as they sit beside each other, sharing smiles, exchanging high fives.

"The way you have to look at it is that he's still alive and he's doing really well right now so we're looking ahead," Miceli says. "It's still devastating, but we can't dwell on what happened."

He turns to his brother. "As soon as he starts walking, he knows I'll be taking him to a hockey game."

So this trial won't change any of that, but his family is anxious about it just the same.

"I just want to get this started," Colin explains. "We've waited a long time for this. We know there'll be stuff that comes out that will be hard to handle. But if we can deal with what we've handled since the beginning of this, we can handle anything, so bring it on."

His wife is looking forward to putting the court case behind them.

"I'm really nervous -- I haven't slept properly in a couple of weeks. It's just the unknown," Terry admits.

She gazes at Shayne, who is so blissfully unaware of that horrific night two years ago and the legal proceedings that now lie ahead.

"The thing that keeps me going is the positive progress I'm seeing in Shayne. He's come so far from two years ago."

And still has so far to go.