Monday, May 28, 2012

Kicking off the Cycling4Diversity tour from Mission

Cycling4Diversity gets underway

The second annual Cycling4Diversity started Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. with a replanting of a vandalized tree at Griner Park.
A team of riders, lead by Mission’s Ken Herar, gathered at the Cherry Avenue park for the ceremony, which also drew MP Randy Kamp, and Mission Mayor Ted Adlem.
The trip will see the cadre stop at 40 venues in nine cities, ending in Victoria at the B.C. Legislature on May 25.
There are seven core riders who will do the entire journey, and a number of others who will join the ride in their respective cities and do a portion.
You can follow the team’s trip through Facebook. Search for the Cycling4Diversity page.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Cycling4Diversity 2012 team arrives in Langley

Cycling For Diversity

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cycling4Diversity team gets ready to pedal to Victoria

Mission cyclists using pedal power to bolster ethnic diversity

Dean Fortin, the mayor of Victoria, will be on hand to welcome the Cycling4Diversity team when it arrives from Mission.

Dean Fortin, the mayor of Victoria, will be on hand to welcome the Cycling4Diversity team when it arrives from Mission.

Photograph by: Adrian Lam , Times Colonist

Ken Herar is spinning his wheels when it comes to ethnic diversity.
The spin starts Tuesday as Herar and entourage ride their bicycles from Mission to Victoria, stopping along the way at a host of schools and public events to get the message out about the need for people to start a dialogue that has long been lost with social media and our harried lifestyles.
Herar, who was born and raised in Mission, has South Asian parents. And he sees how society has gone from being all-inclusive to people of different ethnic backgrounds often sticking to themselves.
“What has happened in the last 20 years is we are starting to lose our values,” he said Monday as he prepared for the 200-plus kilometres of riding in the second annual Cycling4Diversity tour that he founded last year.
“We don’t speak to our neighbours any more,” added Herar, a columnist with the Abbotsford-Mission Times.
“People aren’t talking. People don’t want to mix with one another.”
In some cases, he points out there are soccer leagues for South Asians only. “If we are to live in a multicultural society, we need to start talking to one another,” he said of the need to generate awareness around the value of diversity.
“We should never stop building bridges in a multicultural society.”
Herar and the others who will participate in the ride over the next four days said the response last year by schoolchildren was tremendous. They will make 40 stops along the way at schools and civic celebrations on the ride to Victoria.
“This is a grassroots campaign,” he said. “It needs to come from the political end, too.”
The final stage of the cycling trip is to the steps of the Legislature, where the Cycling4Diversity participants will be greeted by Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin.
For more information on the cycling tour see the Cycling for Diversity 2011 Facebook page or contact Herar at 604-615-2499 or

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cycling4Diversity prepares to celebrate at Matsqui Rec Centre on May 22nd




Diversity ride gets rolling at schools & MRC May 22

The second annual Cycling4Diversity rolls out at 8 a.m. from Mission's Griner Park on May 22, to take the message of diversity and acceptance to schools in the district and across the Lower Mainland on a 200-kilometre, four-day tour.
Spearheaded last year by Times' diversity columnist Ken Herar, the effort has led to the now-official Cycling4Diversity Week, on from May 20-26. It was proclaimed earlier in April by Abbotsford West MLA and Minister of Health, Mike de Jong.
Helping him along are C 4 D executive coordinator Sarina Di Martino Derksen, and Dwayne De Souza owner of Kapesh Media, who designed the group's logo.
Herar began the campaign last year to educate young people, in response to the ongoing intolerance and misinformation he would encounter from time to time.
He said about one dozen cyclists will begin the tour in Mission, where he and others will visit eight schools to talk about racism, tolerance and diversity.
"We've got good support from the Mission RCMP, the Abbotsford Police and the fire department," he said.
The tour will continue on May 22 to several schools in Abbotsford, and it will be joined by APD Deputy Chief Rick Lucy and Abbotsford city Coun. Bill MacGregor.
Then everyone is invited to take part in a big party at the Matsqui Recreation Centre, at Clearbrook Rd., Abbotsford, from 4: 30 to 6 p.m. The event will feature celebration of the region's rich diversity, lots of food, dancing and live entertainment.
Over the next two days, the Cycling4Diversity crew continues into Langley, Surrey and Burnaby, then through Vancouver and Richmond, again visiting schools and groups to spread the message of inclusiveness.
The riders will visit an estimated 34 schools in the nine communities.
On May 25, the tour will head for Victoria's legislative buildings, which will be opened for these special guests.

Sarina Di Martino Derksen and the Cycling4Diversity team are ready to deliver the message in 2012

Written by: Sarina Di Martino Derksen
Executive Coordinator and Director of Communications for Cycling4Diversity

This year's 2nd annual Cycling4Diversity ride is almost here and I can't believe that we're
under a week away. Next week, from May 22-25th the Cycling4Diversity team will be
travelling from Mission to Victoria, BC. making over 40 stops throughout the nine cities
meeting with wonderful individuals to celebrate diversity and discuss issues regarding
racism and discrimination. This initiative is all about teamwork, creating awareness
and bridging the divisions. By travelling through the different cities and meeting with
students in several schools as well as community organizations, neighbourhoods and with
political leaders, we will once again have the opportunity to encourage discussions that
will help to create awareness regarding some of the significant issues we are facing in our
local communities.

The Cycling4Diversity initiative began in 2011 to celebrate “World Day for Cultural
Diversity for Dialogue and Development” on May 21st - a day proclaimed by the United
Nations. Our goal was to make a number of stops along the way in different cities to
celebrate diversity and build bridges. Our committed Cycling4Diversity team is dedicated
to continuing to spread this important message throughout the years to come.

As Executive Coordinator, I'm excited to be part of this important initiative. It is a honour
to be able to carry this message from city to city and be able to discuss topics of diversity,
racism and discrimination and hear personal life stories and experiences that people have
endured. We're all in this together and stand as one in the fight against discrimination.
Diversity is ever shifting and changing, thus our approach regarding the topic and matters
at hand must reflect such a change. We live in an incredibly diverse country and are
very blessed because of it. Let us not take those living around us for granted or tolerate
discrimination that we might witness first hand. It is our responsibility and duty in life
to stand up against injustices we see take place against others. I urge and challenge
everyone to reach out to someone in their workplace, school or neighbourhood that might
be of a different race or culture and start talking with them. We can not begin to celebrate
diversity until we actually begin talking with one another. Without active dialogue, there
can not be any celebrations.

Prior to the ride this year, we were awarded the proclamation from British Columbia
by the Health Minister Mike de Jong deeming May 20th - 26th as "Cycling4Diversity
Week in British Columbia." Currently for our 2nd annual 2012 initiative, we have been
awarded seven proclamations from various communities and three letters of support from
Fraser Valley mayors. The support and expressed need for such an initiative has been

Founder of the Cycling4Diversity initiative, Ken Herar said: "As being someone that is
South Asian, we are also bringing this awareness to my community. I sometimes hear
unfortunate incidents where South Asians are not playing their part when it comes to
integrating into the community and celebrating diversity. These are important steps
as we move forward in our communities and our nation. We're asking people during
Cycling4Diversity Week from May 20-26th to reach out and establish more intercultural
friendships and experience what diversity is all about. Some of the stops will include:
May 23rd the Khalsa School at 11:30am on 124th Street, Surrey and the P.I.C.S office in

Surrey at 12:30pm. On May 24th The Punjabi Market on Main Street at 3:00pm and the
Richmond Cultural Centre from 5:00-6:00pm. Come out and join us in these celebration "

Anyone who would like to or contribute as a financial sponsor can contact us at

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Cycling4Diversity kickoffs in Mission on May 22nd

Cycling4Diversity starts May 22 at Griner Park

It started with a party.
Mission’s Ken Herar was aiming to attend a party last year until he was told no Indo-Canadians could attend because “they cause too much trouble.”
The lifelong local community member was equally incensed and saddened, and set out to do something to change people’s attitudes towards others.
The second annual Cycling4Diversity (May 22-25) starts next Tuesday morning in Mission at Griner Park, and includes 40 stops at schools and community gathering places in nine cities, culminating in the final stop at the B.C. Legislature where the provincial government has announced Cycling for Diversity Week.
There are seven core riders who will do the entire journey, and a handful of others will join the ride in their respective cities and only do a leg.
Building bridges of dialogue, one city at a time, is this year’s theme, said Herar and Sarina Derksen-Di Martino, executive coordinator.
Talking to your neighbours or community members who are from a different ethnicity is the core of the ride’s message.
“We need to create more inter-cultural activities and make more friends,” said Herar.
Derksen-Di Martino was involved last year in organizing ride support and awareness, and came formally onboard after discussions with Herar.
She is passionate about the ride because of the increasing isolation she sees the region that follow racial lines. The more people who move to the district have naturally started to form links with others of a similar background.
“It’s a safety net, and we understand that. But we encourage people to break that [segregation] and approach others,” she said. “We’re not asking people to change their cultures, but just to get out and interact.”
“In 20 years we won’t be talking about diversity, but how to combat racism,” said Herar. Key to the attitude change is creating events with the youth, especially in sports. As well, getting seniors from all cultures to mingle would make a difference.
“I think any language barriers could be overcome,” said Herar. “Mission is a role model community. It’s small, and there’s lots of things to get involved in.”
The May 22 Mission kick off event at Griner Park on Cherry Avenue. A ceremonial tree re-planting, to replace the one planted last year that was vandalized, starts at 8 a.m.

Cycling4Diversity ad for May 22nd celebration in Abbotsford

Cycling4Diversity founder Ken Herar & executive coordinator Sarina Di Martino Derksen extend there graditude and thanks to all of there Facebook friends

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Greetings from BC Minister of State for Multiculturalism John Yap. Countdown begins for the Cycling4Diversity team.

Cycling4Diversity motto: "Building bridges of dialogue, one city at a time."



Cycling4Diversity ready to roll

As the countdown begins before the Cycling4Diversity team hits the roadway to spread the message of diversity and inclusion on May 22-25, preparations are very close to being complete.
The team will be cycling through nine communities and making just over 40 stops at schools, organizations and public venues. The second annual ride has doubled in size from last year's with the amount of stops and support.
The team will generously be presented with eight proclamations along the ride and one from the province of British Columbia naming May 20-26th as Cycling4Diversity Week throughout B.C.
Part of the Cycling4Diversity mission statement proclaims: To encourage more intercultural activities, friendships and dialogue with each other and to bring awareness of our multicultural communities.
The Cycling4Diversity team encourages British Columbians during Cycling4Diversity Week to reach out and develop intercultural relationships in their neighbourhoods, workplaces and schools.
When I've spoken with community leaders over the last year regarding some of the isolation issues that have been occurring, they are surprised to learn about this.
Obviously, as a columnist, I hear this response consistently on a regular basis and how divisions and isolations are affecting how we live with one another.
Last year, after hearing these discussions and feedback I decided to create the Cycling4Diversity initiative, which consisted of a small group of cyclists who would travel from city to city to raise awareness in celebrating our diversity.
One way to accomplish this is to foster honest communication and friendships.
Let's not fool ourselves - racism unfortunately comes in many forms.
My original goal was to do this initiative once, but with the support and encouragement from executive coordinator Sarina Di Martino Derksen and the public, I decided to hit the pavement again to Victoria in 2012.
This second annual ride has a very special story to it, one which touches my heart.
The road bike that I travelled on last year, which was raffled off last September, is being reunited with me on May 22.
I'm extremely excited and honoured to have the privilege of riding this bike again.
Our communications director, Dwayne De Souza (owner of Kapish Media), described the bike as a beautiful story that needed to be shared.
It all began when the winner of the raffle decided that she didn't want the bike, but rather wanted to sell it.
It was at this moment that Di Martino Derksen came forward and expressed that she would like to purchase the bike from the winner and loan it to the C4D rides for future years.
The bike is currently being polished and serviced and will be handed over to me during Cycling4Diversity Week.
Some of this year's team members include (and the list is still growing): Abbotsford Deputy Police Chief Rick Lucy; Abbotsford Coun. Bill MacGregor; Abbotsford Coun. Dave Loewen; TV talk show host Harpreet Singh; Sukhi Dhami and Raj Patara.
Those who wish to celebrate our journey, meet the cyclists and hear our message are free to attend the celebrations at the Matsqui Recreation Centre on Clearbrook road from 4: 30 - 6 p.m. on May 22.
- Ken Herar is a freelance columnist with the Abbotsford-Mission Times. Feel free to contact him at

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Presenting at the Mission writers and readers festival with other guests

Fifth annual writers and readers festival happens this Saturday

The University of the Fraser Valley’s writer-in-residence, Anosh Irani, will be the keynote speaker at the fifth annual Mission Writers and Readers Festival this Saturday at Heritage Park Centre.
This successful ongoing community event will feature readings by established writers, participatory workshops, and a speed networking session with local writers and editors.
This year, the emphasis will be “how to get published,” and two of the workshops will focus on this area.
The morning workshops will be “From Scene to Plot” with UFV creative writing instructor Rajneesh Dhawan, whose own play received a staged reading at Abbotsford’s Reach Gallery last year, and “Publishing: Connecting with the Invisible World,” with long-time writer and editor Marion Quednau.
The afternoon workshops will be “Basic Chapbook Design and Marketing” with Steve Duncan, and “Writing Poetry” with Billeh Nickerson.
Speednetworkers will include local writer and translator John Herl; Rhett Nicholson, publisher of the local Optimix magazine for teens; Sharon Syrette, local Mission historian; Ken Herar, cultural columnist for the Abbotsford Times; and Steve Duncan. Participants will circulate for five minute conversations with these experts, who can talk about writing, publishing and research.
The event is co-sponsored by the UFV English Department and the Fraser Valley Regional Library, and organized by the Mission Lifetime Learning Centre. Vancouver poet Billeh Nickerson will also present a poetry reading.
Registration is $10 for students, $30 for general admission, and lunch can be purchased for $7.  Pre-registration is encouraged, especially for Steve Duncan’s workshop.
You can pre-register at the Lifetime Learning Centre by calling 604-820-0220 or visiting On-site registration will open at 9:30 a.m. on March 10.