New Kids:

A Thank-you to the Sannyas Community

by Ma Deva Tarang

n July 21, 97, the Vancouver Sun featured an article about my son Karun and the project he is presently involved in – the Environmental Youth Alliance. The article, titled “The New Kids in the Hall,” referred to a generation of young people with political interest.The Vancouver Sun reads:

“A new breed of young social activists is storming Vancouver's staid civic politics scene armed with eclectic ideas and in-your- face methods.

“This is the epicenter of the city's most politically active under-25 set: the Main and East Third headquarters of a group called the Environmental Youth Alliance. What was originally a locus for young people interested in environmental issues and wanting a voice outside the established organizations has become something quite different. In the last four years in particular, EYA has evolved into an incubator for a wide range of young people and a philosophy about environmentalism that includes tackling social justice issues, the problems of a secure food supply and – Vancouver civic politics.

“Karun Koernig is EYA's resident graphic-design guru. Koernig, the son of a German mother and a black American father, grew up in Vancouver and went to University Hill high school. There, he was allowed to do most of his schoolwork at home in the final year. ‘I just had too much other stuff to do. I was trying to get a youth magazine off the ground, taking computer courses at night.’

“His social activism started with youth camps organized by the YMCA, where he got involved in conferences that focused on human rights and other social-justice issues. Now 21, he is a third-year sociology and political-science student at SFU.

“His mother, a massage therapist who raised him as a single parent, is ‘not political at all.’ But her interest in Indian religion has given him a grounding for what he does now, he thinks. How he sees his future: ‘There are so many things to do, but I'll probably be engaged in some sort of project – public art or an alternate system to the university. I could also be doing politics – I wouldn't mind being involved in civic politics.’”

When I read the article, a great feeling of gratitude came over me. I wanted to thank the sannyas community and everybody who touched my son's life, for the love and support, the sharing and teaching Karun received in his earlier years in the different Vancouver community houses.

A special thank you to Shivam Howie who gave him responsibility over the food money in the “Sweet Surrender” house.

Also thank you to Kiran and Parad who let Karun express himself boldly. To Gyanesha and Christa Faye for sharing their time and motherly love. And to John Robbins who took him into his household, while I had to find myself. To Akhil, who took him on a vinyl siding job and shared the income with him. The list is so long that I hope I will be forgiven for not mentioning everybody by name. I am grateful to be part of this very special community of Osho and to be able see our children grow and flower.

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