Wednesday, June 23, 2010

President Bill Clinton and I at his 2004 book signing in Seattle

Skydiving for diversity...

Come and cheer the founder of AbbyFest, Musleh Hakki, and the following dignitaries as they skydive to enhance the awareness of Multiculturalism and Diversity. Skydivers include:
  • Musleh Hakki, ABBYFEST Founder
  • Ed Fast, MP
  • George Peary, Mayor of Abbotsford
  • Frank Pizzuto, Abbotsford City Manager
  • David Hull, Executive Director of the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce
  • Rick Lucy, Deputy Chief Constable – Abbotsford Police Department
  • Richard Shatto, Chamber of Commerce
  • Andrew Franklin, Publisher of the Abbotsford News
  • Jagdish Gill, Wife of Moe Gill – City Councillor
  • Bindy Kandola, Marketing Director – OnSide Restoration
  • Suzanne Greening, Director – Reach Gallery
  • Ken Herar – Journalist

When: 3:00pm on July, 1st, 2010
Where: Abbotsford Skydive Air Field on Gladwin Rd (5112 Gladwin Rd, Abbotsford, BC)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Many years, many thanks...

By Ken Herar, Special to the Times June 18, 2010

I am extremely grateful to have received the Arts & Culture Service Award from the District of Mission at their annual community service awards on June 6.

What a wonderful rainy afternoon it was at the Mission Leisure Centre gymnasium. Celebrating my 15th year as a columnist this month made it even more of a special milestone.

I accept this acknowledgement not solely as an award, but a responsibility to do more on how we can build an inclusive community. After 180 months and several hundred columns, I still have the energy to stir the pot.

If you asked me in June 1995, if I would still be a columnist in 2010. I probably would have given you a strange, dirty look.

Well, I wouldn't want my story written any other way. I have personally grown through this experience and have always given my best.

This discussion must always continue even after my time. Remember, the moment we stop building relationships we create walls. And I am thankful to the Abbotsford-Mission Times for this opportunity to carry this message.

It's the people who go out of their way to talk to you and shake your hand and encourage me to stay committed.

Readers don't have to say anything, but they do, and it's very humbling. I have met so many inspiring folks, who have given me an educational opportunity of a lifetime.

The common question I get asked is when am I going to throw my name into the political jungle. To clear any misconceptions, I am not doing this for any public position, but strictly for the love of our community and nation. Nothing against politicians, but they have their role and I have mine.

The District of Mission did a fantastic job in honoring some of their finest 19 volunteers Sunday afternoon. With a packed audience it was inspiring listening to the incredible backgrounds of recipients.

Mayor James Atebe said: "It's not city hall that builds things in this community . . . it's the people, particularly people who volunteer their time, their passion and their energy."

Entertainment included: Bob & the Nine Lives, who sang the Mission City Song and the mysterious Business in Black dancers of Mission, led by Suzanne Primus. Hope to see you guys and gals at another event. Radio voice and Mission resident Roy Hafeli was master of ceremonies, who drove all night just to be part of this spectacular community event.

Thank you, Roy. There were many special moments, for example when Mission Coun. Jenny Stevens and her dog were presenting the Special Accomplishment Award to Sandy Forward and her big dog Murphy, who are frequent volunteers at hospitals. Who says we don't live in a dog's world?

To have two beautiful dogs on the stage at the same time demonstrates animals are an integral part of our society and deserve our praise.

Mission is a growing city and with community involvement it is easy to witness positive results. Flipping through the official ceremony pamphlet and seeing the list of past recipients - recognizing many names that are not with us anymore.

I owe much gratitude to many for there generosity of time. I will never forget it.

Here are the remaining recipients and their categories: Thomas O' Beirne - Freeman of the City, Dennis Derrough - Freeman of the City, Mission and District Lions Club - Long Term Distinguished Service Award, Rhona Jacobsen - Lifetime Achievement Award, Margaret Clifton - Lifetime Achievement Award, Cindy Kelly - Lifetime Achievement Award, The Reed Family ( Bob, Leslie, Emily, Katherine, Dianna, Thomas) - Citizens of the Year, Mission Search & Rescue - Crime Prevention & Community Safety Award, Sandy Forward and "Murphy" - Special Accomplishment Award, Steelhead Community Association - Special Accomplishment Award, Mission & District Soapbox Derby Association - Special Accomplishment Award, Jean Kask - Against the Odds Achievement Award, Lee Kwidzinski - Arts & Culture Service Award, Mission Heritage Association Volunteers - Arts & Culture Service Award, Daniel Crich - Community Service Award (under age 25), Xenia (Sunny) von Rosen - Community Service Award, Julie Hartland - Community Service Award and William (Bill) Grieve - Sports Volunteer of the Year.

Many thanks to all the readers, celebrating 15 years at the desk.

CBC a wonderful experience..

A career's worth a try..

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Bio Presentation at the 2010 District of Mission Community Awards. Thank you, citizens of Mission for such kind words of encouragement...

Kulwinder ‘Ken’ Herar
Arts & Culture Service Award

Ken Herar is a newspaper columnist who has been writing about cultural diversity issues in the Mission/Abbotsford area for the past 15 years. He also writes for other publications throughout the Lower Mainland, including the South Asian Link. His articles are informative and thought provoking. In 2007 his work was recognized when he was named Champion of Diversity at the annual Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards organized by Abbotsford Community Services. Born and raised in Mission, Ken’s family has deep roots in Mission’s Indo-Canadian community.

Through dialogue with his readers, Ken is able to promote understanding by emphasizing the importance of integrating all cultures to build one healthy community. For example, Ken organized and promoted an annual essay writing contest for students on the subject of building an inclusive community. He has also captured the imagination of Mission high school students by talking to them directly about cultural diversity and inclusiveness. His voice offers hope for those who experience isolation, misunderstanding, and racism.

Ken is described as a young energetic thinker who is working hard to bring a positive change for better understanding and building cross-cultural relations. He is also described as a “bridge-builder”, attending multicultural functions, youth clubs, and business meetings to spread the value of tolerance, diversity, and compassion.

On behalf of the District of Mission, this well deserved “Arts and Culture Service Award” will be presented by Councillor Heather Stewart.

Speaking on CBC Radio..diversity shouldn't be confined to a list of percentages.

CBC panel talk was a great experience

By Ken Herar, The Times June 4, 2010

Last Friday, I was honoured to be one of the many distinguished guests on CBC's The Early Edition with host Rick Cluff, which broadcast live from the Abbotsford Recreation Centre from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

Considering I played basketball until almost midnight at the ARC my performance could have been more entertaining during our three-person panel discussion (with Satwinder Bains and Karry Kainth).

A good night sleep is essential. A Facebook friend left this message on my page: "You'll have to speak faster next time . . . lol. Not a lot of time to answer questions. But you definitely shine as a columnist."

Thanks Brett.

Being on air is something that I haven't done too often and it's going to take a bit of practise to loosen up those voice skills.

When I pulled into the parking lot at 6:15 a.m. it seemed like I never actually left the place. It was dark when I left and the same when I came back. Still sore from six hours previous and trying to shake off those a.m. blues, I was desperately trying to put my best foot forward and showcase our community.

When I approached the doors at the senior centre, I was impressed to see so many spectators listening to the show. It was fabulous to witness so many people who all became part of this memorable broadcast.

The CBC team did a fantastic job in hosting; providing muffins and coffee and everything appeared to go smoothly.

All scheduled guests were on time and did an inspiring job in putting Abbotsford on the map.

I shared a chuckle with host Cluff during one of the commercial breaks and told him I was playing basketball late last night across the hall.

My punch line came moments later and it went something like this: "The drug issue is not just restricted to the South Asian community, it's a community concern that shares no boundaries."

Abbotsford Police Chief Bob Rich seconded this thought later during his segment on the show. I believe at times the South Asian community unfortunately gets a bad rap based on a few bad apples.

Much of the broadcast was dedicated to South Asian issues, as May was Asian Heritage Month.

Throughout the program it was repeated several times that the Abbotsford South Asian population is one of the fastest growing in Canada, at around 16 per cent.

I hope listeners who have never been to Abbotsford don't get the impression that only South Asians reside in the 'burbs.

Let's not forget they are many ethnic communities who have deep roots in Abbotsford, such as the Dutch, Mennonites and the growing Asian population.

Here in the valley, with our growing diversity, I like to believe we see each other as one community, not divided into long lists of percentages. Statistics are nice, but it doesn't define diversity and the true accuracy of what we are building for future generations in our city in the country.

Ken Herar writes about community diversity issues for the Abbotsford-Mission Times. Contact him at

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