Thursday, May 26, 2011

All ready to hit the road..

Abbotsford cyclist gears up for diversity


Ken Herar will be cycling to Victoria to raise awareness about diversity.

Ken Herar will be cycling to Victoria to raise awareness about diversity.

Photograph by: Jean Konda-Witte, TIMES

Spreading the word about inclusion and diversity, Mission resident and Times columnist Ken Herar is taking his message to the streets, literally, as he kicks off his four-day Cycling for Diversity tour on Wednesday.

The 200 kilometre trek will take him and a small group of riders from the Fraser Valley to Victoria, with many stops along the way to share his message.

"By creating awareness, we are making a difference," said Herar. "But we should never stop building cultural bridges."

Herar and his small group of riders are planning stops in Mission, Abbotsford, Langley, Surrey, New Westminster, Burnaby, Vancouver, Richmond and Victoria to speak at elementary and high schools and civic celebrations.

"The best way to build an inclusive community is through celebration. That's what we're doing here, to stop in communities to talk with children in schools and celebrating what we have here in Canada," he said.

"There are many cultures and faces that represent our community. Our nation was built on diversity. This is how our nation is moving forward but we need to work at it."

The trip celebrates the United Nations World Day for Cultural Diversity on May 21. As well the District of Mission has also declared May 16-21 as Cultural Diversity Week.

On Wednesday, the Cycling for Diversity team will visit Griner Park in Mission at 8:15 a.m. for the planting of a Ginko Biloba tree, an evergreen native to China. The cyclists will make five stops at Mission schools and the Mission Indian Friendship Centre before travelling to Dasmesh Punjabi School in Matsqui Village, W.J. Mouat Secondary and Howe Middle School.

A second tree planting is set at 2:30 p.m. at Old Yale Road and South Fraser Way, where three maple trees will be planted to celebrate the ride.

Canada Safeway in Abbotsford is the next stop at 3:30 p.m. for an hour-long diversity celebration featuring entertainment by Korean drummers and snacks provided by the grocery store.

At 5 p.m. the team will also make a quick visit to the Abbotsford Heritage Sikh Temple to pay their respects to the historic building which is celebrating its centennial.

By nightfall the cyclists will make their way to Langley for more diversity activities the next day.

The schedule for the next three days will include more school and civic visits before the trip concludes in Victoria at the Legislature.

Interested riders are welcome to join the trek for part or all of the ride and an ongoing journal of the daily activities will be posted on the Cycling for Diversity Facebook page or @RickRake on Twitter.

For more details, contact Herar at 604-615-2499.

Cycling4Diversity at Langley Community Services


  Cycling4Diversity: All worth the message

Well, the first leg of our Cycling for Diversity was a tremendous success. After 14 stops in the Mission-Abbotsford area and seven schools visits, the team with a valuable Canadian message this Victoria long weekend is keeping the pace towards the provincial capital.
There were a few challenging hills and some sore legs, but we all arrived at our scheduled destinations on time, had many inspiring discussions in classrooms with our youth and an upbeat party at Canada Safeway on South Fraser Way, which generously supplied all the cyclists with food and refreshments.
Customers were given cake and were entertained by Korean drummers and Bhangra dancers. I would like to thank the team members for operating as a unit, which resulted in no one getting left behind in our tracks. From start to finish, we will be making 25 stops in our 11-city tour with overnight stays in Langley, Burnaby and Delta.
We started planning for this trip in March after a small group of us gathered in a coffee shop in Abbotsford. One of the members suggested a cycle trip would be perfect on World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development (May 21).
Like the many people out there, I had no idea a day like this even existed on the calendar. As someone who has been focusing on diversity topics for the past 16 years, I thought this would be a terrific way to celebrate both people and culture. We all agreed that a cycling journey to the provincial capital would be a fabulous expedition.
When I speak to Canadians about cultural diversity they usually get excited. Where else in the world can we share our unique cultures and still live peacefully as neighbours?
Nothing comes to my immediate attention more then where all global citizens can celebrate together as one, regardless of your race and religion.
On the United Nations website it outlines the following description: "The World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development provides us with an opportunity to deepen our understanding of the values of cultural diversity and to learn to 'live together' better."
The best way to follow the UN mandate and build an inclusive community is to actually celebrate our many cultures that exist within our communities. The more we celebrate, the greater understanding we create. Multiculturalism will always be a work in progress. In order for it to work effectively everyone has to participate equally. We should never overlook this valuable fact.
One of the main reasons I decided to take on this ride is to share in a discussion that, as a columnist, I am hearing more and more from readers that our communities are facing isolation issues. This concerns me. I feel I have a responsibility to discuss these kinds of topics. Yes, cultural diversity is working.
Can it work better? Absolutely.
The core principles of our journey are teamwork, sharing and reaching out to celebrate what we have accomplished as Canadians. In two days our team will arrive at the Legislature building in Victoria to celebrate World Day for Cultural Diversity and we are very excited. I have many people to thank and I will do that in an upcoming column.
But, I would like to acknowledge Wentings Cycle and Mountain Shop in Mission for loaning me the bike for this 200-plus kilo-metre trek.
We will be raising funds to purchase the bike and donate it to someone in need.
Donations can be made to Envision Financial, account #45771128 (Mission Branch).
-Ken Herar is a columnist for the Abbotsford-Mission Times. Contact him at kenherar@gmail.com.

Cycling4Diversity tree planting in Mission 2011

Diversity ride delivers

The Cycling for Diversity crew join Mission Mayor James Atebe, district staff and ride sponsors in planting a Chinese tree in Griner Park to launch the four-day ride last Wednesday.

The Cycling for Diversity crew join Mission Mayor James Atebe, district staff and ride sponsors in planting a Chinese tree in Griner Park to launch the four-day ride last Wednesday.

Photograph by: Photo submitted, for the Times

It was mission accomplished for Ken Herar and a group of cyclists who travelled from Abbotsford to Victoria recently to help spread the message about cultural diversity.
Herar, a columnist with the Abbotsford-Mission Times, and his cycling team began the four-day, 200-kilometre Cycling for Diversity tour on Wednesday, May 18 and arrived back in the Fraser Valley on Saturday.
Along the way, he and his comrades made 24 stops and spoke at eight elementary and high schools to help spread the word about the importance of cultural diversity.
"It was a great team effort," Herar said on Tuesday.
"We built many partnerships within the communities we visited from Mission to Victoria. We got our message out there. It was great. It surpassed my expectations."
Herar said the biggest part of building a cultural society is through beginning and improving on relationships with many different people.
"The only way diversity is going to work is through partnerships," he said.
"It can't just exist through itself. It's through partnerships and team work, and that was the concept of our ride."
Herar and his teammates were accompanied in Abbotsford by APD Deputy Chief Rick Lucy and city councillor Bill MacGregor.
When they arrived in Victoria, acting Mayor Marianne Alto was on hand to greet the riders, as were a handful of people from both Abbotsford and Mission, said Herar.
"People were very supportive and they liked the concept," he said.
It's early still, but Herar added the wheels are already in motion for next year's Cycling for Diversity tour.
He's hoping more riders are able to join in and make the journey.
camtuckertimes@gmail.com

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Cycling4Diversity in Langley

Cycling4Diversity Promotional picture 2011

KenHerarCyclingwebversion.jpg

Learning to live together. That’s the message of the United Nation’s World Day for Cultural Diversity.
Ken Herar, former Times columnist, has decided to use the Day for Diversity as a way to raise awareness, by Cycling for Diversity.
He plans to ride his bicycle with a team of riders to raise awareness about this day and about diversity for the planet.
The World Day for Diversity is one day a year that devotes itself to bringing everyone together to celebrate all the cultures of the world.
“It’s a great day when the world can come together and celebrate as one,” said Herar.
The ride will start in Mission on Wednesday, May 18, and end on Saturday, May 21, in Victoria, where Herar and his team will celebrate World Day for Diversity.
En route to Victoria the Cycling for Diversity team will stop in Langley for the night on May 18.
Along the way, the team will give talks to schools and community members, and stop for tree planting in Mission, where the District of Mission has declared Cultural Diversity week, May 16 to May 21.
Herar, along with his team, and the Langley International Festival Society, invite members of the community to the Muriel Arnason Library, 20338 65 Ave., at 7 p.m., to welcome the cyclists into Langley.
There will also be an opportunity to meet with the cyclists and they will be speaking to members of the local community about the importance of local and global diversity, speaking to community members about their ride.
Shar Dubas of the LIFS would also like to invite members of the community to wave one of the society’s 60 international flags to give them a “warm Langley welcome.”
Herar will also be giving a short presentation at Langley Community Services Society at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 19.
To follow along with Cycling for Diversity go to http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cycling-for-Diversity-2011 or on Twitter @RickRake.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Province daily newspaper covers the "Cycling For Diversity" journey

Non-inclusion leads to awareness bike ride through Metro Vancouver

An Abbotsford journalist and his team will cycle some 200 kilometres through the Lower Mainland starting Wednesday to inspire awareness about the need for more cultural inclusion in the region.

Abbotsford-Mission Times columnist Ken Herar said the four-day cycle tour dubbed Cycling for Diversity will make stops in schools and at civic celebrations to generate awareness of the value of diversity.

Herar said the idea came from a growing concern in his community about increasing segregation, as well as his own recent experience of discrimination when he was barred from a party because of his race.

“The best way to tackle rascism is to celebrate multiculturalism,” Herar said. “We can never stop building bridges with one another.”

The trip starts with a visit to Griner Park in Mission at 8:15 a.m. Wednesday morning where Herar and six other team mates will plant a Gingko Biloba tree, native to China, to symbolize the ever-expanding nature of acceptance and inclusion.

The team will continue through Mission, Abbotsford, Langley, Surrey, New Westminster, Burnaby, Vancouver, Richmond until its finish at the legislative grounds in Victoria on Saturday, May 21.

May 21 marks the United Nations’ World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.

Herar will ride a road bike on loan from a shop in Mission and said he hopes to raise money to buy the bike and donate it to someone in need after the trip.

For more information, see the Cycling for Diversity Facebook page or contact Herar at kenherar@gmail.com.

sarahdouziech@theprovince.com

twitter.com/sarahdouziech

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Press Release for Cycling for Diversity





FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CYCLING FOR DIVERSITY: TRIP FROM
MISSION TO VICTORIA CREATES AWARENESS

A four-day cycling expedition May 18-21 from Mission to Victoria will showcase the need for harmonious cultural diversity in the area, and Abbotsford-Mission Times columnist and advocate Ken Herar will lead his team for some 200 kilometres.

The trip, dubbed Cycling for Diversity, celebrates the United Nations World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development (May 21), and shines the spotlight on the area's diverse ethnic populations and the need for inclusive communities.

Herar and his small group of riders are planning stops in Mission, Abbotsford, Langley, Surrey, New Westminster, Burnaby, Vancouver, Richmond and Victoria with various elementary and high school classroom visits, civic celebrations and meetings with civic leaders.

During the trek, Herar will be riding a Devinci Oslo Hybrid road bike loaned from Wentings Cycle & Mountain Shop in Mission. Herar hopes to raise funds to purchase the bike and donate it to someone in need.

"By creating awareness, we are making a difference," said Herar. "But we should never stop building cultural bridges."

On the first day of the trip, the Cycling for Diversity team visits Griner Park in Mission at 8:15 a.m. for a diversity tree planting. The tree is a Ginko Biloba, an evergreen native to China which has potential medicinal properties. The District of Mission has also declared May 16 to 21 as Cultural Diversity Week.

From Griner Park the squad will make five stops at Mission schools and the Mission Indian Friendship Centre where they will share in discussions about diversity and the cycling trip.

From there they travel to Dasmesh Punjabi School in Matsqui Village before they speak to a Grade 12 Law class at W.J. Mouat Secondary at noon.

Next stop is Gordie and Colleen Howe Middle School where the team will be heralded by cheering students waiting on the school track.

A second tree planting is set at 2:30 p.m. at Old Yale Road and South Fraser Way. Three maple trees will be planted to celebrate the ride.

Canada Safeway in Abbotsford is the next stop at 3:30 p.m. for an hour-long diversity celebration featuring entertainment by Korean drummers and snacks provided by the grocery store.

At 5 p.m. that day the team will also make a quick visit to the Abbotsford Heritage Sikh Temple to pay their respects to the historic building which is celebrating its centennial.

By nightfall the cyclists will make their way to Langley for more diversity activities the next day.

The schedule for the next three days will include more school and civic visits, the details of which will be released shortly. Details can be obtained by calling Herar at 604-615-2499. Interested riders can also contact him.

The trip concludes in Victoria at the Legislature.

An ongoing journal of the daily activities will be posted on the Cycling for Diversity Facebook page or @RickRake on Twitter. Donations for the bike Herar will be riding can be made to Envision Financial, account #4577128 (Mission branch).

Ride supporters include Canada Safeway, Envision Financial, Mission Rotary Club, Fraser Valley Indo-Canadian Business Association, Peter Warkentin,

-30-

CONTACT INFO:

KEN HERAR 604-615-2499

Friday, May 6, 2011

A racist attack against a eldery Sikh gentlemen in Abbotsford


Disturbing attack & biking adventure

It's disturbing to hear the racist attack that occurred a week ago on a elderly Sikh gentlemen while he was sitting with his friends on a park bench in Abbotsford.

A lone man approached them and began making ethnic slurs. The attacker then brandished a liquor bottle and struck one of the men in the face, causing him to fall to the ground

This is absolutely disgusting and there is no excuse for this behaviour. This is surely not an example of cultural divide - this is a prime example of racism.

I recall a similar incident many years ago in Mission where a group of young kids were lighting an elderly gentlemen's turban on fire while he was sitting on a bench minding his own business.

It was a summer afternoon and I came to an intersection and glanced over and saw a group of young kids speaking to an elderly Sikh gentlemen. The next thing I noticed were flames coming out of this man's turban. I immediately stopped the car and approached these kids and assisted the victim. Lucky enough, he was alright and I called the police.

If you ever come across a situation where you sense seniors are being harassed on our streets don't hesitate to call the police.

My final preparations are being made before my departure to Victoria on my cycling journey (Cycling for Diversity), only two short weeks away.

Recently, my father handed me an old essay titled "The Gentlemen from Jundiala." It was about my grandfather Kabul Singh Herar and his journey to reunite with his family in Canada. It was written by Dale Taylor, who took an interest in Sikhism. Taylor, was a local Mission teacher and wrote a comprehensive paper on South Asian life. He said: "As a teacher, I believe that it is vital to stimulate an interest in cultures other than our own. If we can create that initial interest, then children will be motivated to search, on their own, for more knowledge of other cultures."

I couldn't agree more.

n Ken Herar is a columnist for the Times. Contact him at: kenherar@gmail.com.