Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Congratulations to the 33 Abbotsford receipients of the Queens Diamond Jubilee medal. GirlKind in partnership with UFV presents second screening.




To celebrate the 60th year reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 33
Abbotsford residents received the Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal last
Friday. The recipients were: Rudy Baerg, Mitch Borrows, Capt. Ted
Bowman, Gerri Charles, Deirdre DeGagne, former Matsqui Mayor and MLA
Harry de Jong , Brian Doerksen, Dorothy Dyck, former Mayor George
Ferguson, founding principal Dasmesh school Dalip Singh Gill,
multi-cultural and Immigrant Manager Manpreet Grewal, former City
Councillor Lynne Harris, Stan Hindmarsh, Dave Holmberg, former Matsqui
Mayor Dave Kandal, Lorna Keith, former school teacher Freddy Latham,
Dave Murray, Police Sgt. Mike Novakowski, former Mayor George Peary,
UFV professor Darryl Plecas, Punjabi Patrika Publisher Andy Sidhu, Les
Talvio, Pieter Vanderpol, John Vissers, Milt Walker, Menno Froese, Deb
Lowell, City Councillor John Smith, Police Chief Bob Rich and
Christine Wiebe. The medal is awarded for long standing devotion to
public service. Speaking to a few of the recipients, they expressed
their surprise to find out they had been nominated and awarded this
medal and this is what they had to say.  Andy Sidhu said, "Being an
immigrant to this country and being recognized by the Federal
Government is a great honour." Freddy Latham said, "Many of us have
served a lot of years in the community. Myself, 30 years of it
involved in the community, theatre, Arts Council and the Abbotsford
Children's Theatre (which she founded). It is nice to be recognized
for the years of work and service to our community. Looking forward to
many more years of banging the drum for the arts community." Dalip
Singh Gill said, " My work in the community regarding education has
been recognized. I think the credit goes to the students at the
Dasmesh Punjabi School. I am proud of the achievements of my students
in various fields." Congratulations to all the recipients.

Abbotsford Member of Parliament and Minister of International Trade
Hon. Ed Fast said, “These eminent community leaders enrich every
aspect of our community, including the arts, business, education, and
service to the poor and vulnerable. In doing so, they re-affirm
Abbotsford’s reputation as the most generous community in Canada.”

Mission will be holding their Diamond Jubilee medal ceremony on Nov
3rd at Cedarbrooke Chateau from 1:30-3:30pm.

Deesh Sekhon, a resident of Abbotsford and the Founder of GirlKind
Foundation became aware late last year of the sobering issue of
Gendercide which happens world wide and is more prevalent in certain
cultures than others. Gendercide is the elimination of a specific
gender (usually females) through infanticide, murder and/or
sex-selective abortions. This past September, Sekhon launched GirlKind
Foundation which is non-profit organization whose purpose is to help
bring an end to gendercide, gender discrimination through dialogue and
education and to reach out to help support abandoned girls world wide.

"To know is not enough; understanding what gendercide is and how it's
affecting our world isn't enough. We need to act to make a difference
to save a girl and that is what lead to the creation of GirlKind,
changing cultural beliefs one girl at a time. Creating a better world
where every girl matters, said Sekhon."

In keeping with creating dialogue and raising awareness, GirlKind is
presenting a 2nd screening of the film "It's a Girl" in partnership
with the Centre for Indo-Canadians Studies at UFV on November 19th in
room B101 in the evening. For more information on the time visit
girlkind.org

or contact the Centre for Indo-Canadians Studies.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sikh cadets debate continues..

March on with Sikh cadets

 
Editor, the Times:
Re: Sikh cadets a reflection of history, Times, Oct. 16.
Firstly, I agree entirely with Mr. Herar when he praises the Sikh regiments that served with the British Army and the Indian Army in two world wars.
The Sikhs fought with great bravery and have an almost unparalleled record of medals won per soldier.
The relationship between Britain and India goes back to the time when bloody clashes between the British East India Company, the French colonists and Indian princes necessitated the British government to take over the running of the country for the sake of peace and prosperity.
This was in 1784. Just over one and a half centuries later, in 1947, India was granted independence.
On partition, the Sikh regiments then became an integral part of the new Indian Army, while on the other hand the Gurkha Regiments, who also fought with the British Army, were split up, with six remaining as an integral part of the Indian Army and four moving into permanent service in the Brigade of Gurkhas as part of the revised British Army.
Mr. Herar confirms that the Sikhs are a religion, rather than an ethnic group, such as the Scottish, Irish and the Nepalese hill men, known as Gurkhas.
He goes on to suggest that "allowing cadets from a particular religious faith to form their own unit to perhaps one day serve and protect our nation would definitely be a Canadian thing to do."
Apart from the fact that cadets are civilians and Canada has a policy of multiculturalism that would for-bid any cadet organization from becoming exclusive to one religion, there is no good reason to insist on calling a new Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps the Surrey Sikhs.
Our Canadian Forces in general and our local 39 Canadian Brigade Group has soldiers from most ethnic and faith backgrounds.
In fact, the currently serving commanding officer of the British Columbia Regiment, Lieut.-Col. Harjit Singh Sajjan, is himself a Sikh.
As Mr. Herar concludes, "Let us not allow a name or religion to become a stumbling block for the greater good."
Good advice, so let us close the debate on this issue and move forward with the naming of the proposed new Surrey cadet corps with an all inclusive title (3300 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps) as has been suggested by DND, and let the youth of Surrey join one of Canada's most successful youth training programs.
Jim Happer Abbotsford

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Cycling4Diversity Blue wave rides into Hatzic Subway in Mission.

 
Cycling4Diversity team members (left to right) Valerie Tosoff and Patrick Doyle stopped at Hatzic Subway in Mission during the Inner-city ride on Oct 15th, 2012, which kindly donated lunch for the entire team. Cycling4Diversity would like to thank owners Andy & Ruby Chandi for supporting our team.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Extremely humbled to receive the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Columnist and cultural diversity advocate Ken Herar is among a number of Canadians being recognized across Canada with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. Herar, who is the founder of Cycling4Diversity, rode his bike 200km for the past two years along with his team from Mission to Victoria speaking to students and organizations about diversity, culture and inclusion. The C4D team made over 40 stops visiting 9 cities before their final destination stop at the BC Legislature Building. During this year’s ride the province of British Columbia named it; Cycling4Diversity Week in BC from May 20th-May 26th, 2012 to support their message.
Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal is a tangible way for Canada to honour Her Majesty for her service to this country. At the same time, it serves to honour significant contributions and achievements by Canadians. During this year’s celebrations, 60,000 deserving Canadians will be recognized.
Herar, who comes from a tennis family, organized local community tournaments spanning two decades in the Mission/Abbotsford area. Throughout the 1990’s, he was one of Canada’s and BC’s top ranked tennis players.  In 2007, he received the Champion of Diversity Award at the Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards and was also the recipient of the Art and Culture Service Award from the District of Mission in 2010.  
Herar said: “ I am definitely humbled to receive this recognition. I was honestly not expecting this and was very surprised to receive the phone call this week from our local Member of Parliament. My involvement and efforts have never been about medals or awards. I have always enjoyed working with people towards the common good of our community and nation. Life is about values and what we choose to represent and the legacy we leave behind. I have chosen to spread this message across the province and hopefully across Canada in the near future that cultural diversity is Canada’s greatest strength and that it is not about only celebrating differences, its actually about building relationships with each other. I have met some incredible people who have supported Cycling4Diversity and have assisted our team in getting this particular message out. Your only as strong as the support and team around you. I am grateful for this. There is a lifetime responsibility that comes with this recognition and is something that I am committed too and will always hold that dear to my heart.”
Cycling4Diversity Co-founder Sarina Di Martino Derksen said, " Its always been a honour and a pleasure to work with Ken both personally and professionally on various issues and projects. He is an individual who has dedicated a good part of his life serving the communities whether it be sporting events, or various community initiatives in particularly tireless efforts to bring awareness and bring discussion to each community regarding the importance message of diversity, inclusivity and break down the barriers of biases and hatred which are the foundations of racism and discrimination. This medal could not have been awarded to a more deserving and committed individual of our community."
 Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission Member of Parliament Randy Kamp will be presenting Herar with his medal on November 3rd in Mission.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Sikh cadets could be beneficial

 

Sikh cadets a reflection of history

 
 
 
 
Having a cadet group called the Surrey Sikhs would fit into a history of loyal military service.
Sikhs have had a long, proud military tradition and using the word 'Sikh' to identify a regiment within the Canadian military would prove to be an asset for the forces.
Doing some research on the topic, it becomes very obvious that the Sikh military has existed for centuries and has stood proud in many wars including the Battle of Sargarhi.
The Sikh military tradition dates back to the founders of their religion with the sixth Sikh Guru, Guru Hargobind (1595 to 1644) when Sikhs fought their first battles against Mughal oppression.
Highly skilled Sikh soldiers were later quickly integrated into the British Indian Army and proved invaluable and loyal.
Sikh regiments have served in the British army in battlefields around the world including Sudan, fighting slave traders in central Africa, in Persia and in the Middle East.
More than 65,000 Sikh soldiers fought in the First World War as part of the British Army and more than 300,000 Sikhs fought German and Japanese tyranny in Second World War.
The Gurkhas who reside from the Nepal region of India have been part of the Indian contingent of the British Army for more than two centuries and have proven that defending a multicultural nation can come from a particular ethnic regiment of soldiers.
The Canadian Forces have also proven this with at least 15 regiments that reflect ethnic diversity. For example: Seaforth Highlanders, Canadian Scottish Regiment and Sudbury's Irish Regiment of Canada, just to name a few.
Building an inclusive, diverse community can be very complex. By allowing cadets from a particular religious faith to form their own unit to perhaps one day serve and protect our nation would definitely be a Canadian thing to do.
I see nothing wrong with their name being called Surrey Sikhs or with this group to exist for that fact.
Looking at some of the past history of the Sikh military, Canada would be a fortunate country to have such a fighting force on its side.
As one letter writer put it: "These people are willing to put their religion on the line for Canada. Particularly when you consider that they would rather wear a turban instead of a steel helmet on the battlefield."
At times unfortunately I believe the Sikh community in Canada struggles with a perceived image problem.
With encouraging Sikh youth to join the cadets and be passionate about their commitment towards Canada, we will hopefully see positive changes on how this sect is viewed.
Where I identify a larger issue in all of this is when one of the organizers spearheading this discussion commented that "without Sikh in the name the cadet corps wouldn't have drawn as much interest."
This points us to a greater issue within the South Asian community.
Our diverse communities need to become more involved in activities that pertain not only to their own culture or religion. To support initiatives such as this should not limit us to reach out to mainstream causes.
In this case I honestly believe diversity can work in isolation and in partnership with the Canadian Forces for the betterment of our nation and in keeping with British tradition.
Let us not allow a name or religion to become a stumbling block for the greater good.
? Ken Herar is a freelance columnist with the Abbotsford-Mission Times. Contact him via e-mail at kenherar@ gmail.com.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cycling4Diversity team visits Mission Secondary on Oct 15th, 2012.

Cycling4Diversity presents to the Seniors Plus Society on Sept 18, 2012

Cycling4Diversity presenting Hatzic Secondary principal Larry Jepsen with a C4D t-shirt.

 
Founder Ken Herar and Co-founder Sarina Di Martino Derksen from Cycling4Diversity led the team on an inner-city ride visiting four schools on Oct 15, 2012 in the District of Mission. The team's message to students was to create dialogue and discussion on the topics of diversity, culture and inclusion. (From left to right) Ken Herar, Valerie Tosoff, Kulwinder Singh Dhillon, Hatzic Senior Secondary Principal Larry Jepsen, Preet Rai and Patrick Doyle.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sikhs have a long outstanding military tradition

Sikhs Have A Distinguished Military Tradition And Will Make Canadian Forces Proud With “Sikh Cadets”

The Sikh military tradition dates back to the time of the founders of their religion with the 6th Sikh Guru, Guru Hargobind (1595 to 1644) when Sikhs fought their first battles against Mughal oppression. Highly skilled Sikh soldiers were quickly integrated into the British Indian Army and proved invaluable and loyal. Sikh regiments have served in the British army in battlefields around the world including: Sudan, fighting slave traders in Central Africa, in Persia and the Middle East.
By Ken Herar
Having a cadet group called the (Surrey Sikhs) would fit into a history of loyal military service. Sikhs have had a long proud military tradition and using the word ‘Sikh’ to identify a regiment within the Canadian military would prove to be an asset for the forces. Doing some research on the Sikh military it becomes very obvious that the Sikh military has existed for centuries and has stood proud in many wars including, “Battle of Sargarhi”. The Sikh military tradition dates back to the time of the founders of their religion with the 6th Sikh Guru, Guru Hargobind (1595 to 1644) when Sikhs fought their first battles against Mughal oppression. Highly skilled Sikh soldiers were quickly integrated into the British Indian Army and proved invaluable and loyal. Sikh regiments have served in the British army in battlefields around the world including: Sudan, fighting slave traders in Central Africa, in Persia and the Middle East.
Over 65,000 Sikh soldiers fought in WWI as part of the British Army and over 300,000 Sikhs fought against German and Japanese tyranny in WWII.
The Gurkhas who reside from the Nepal region of India have been part of the Indian contingent of the British Army for over two centuries and have proven that defending a multicultural nation can come from a particular ethnic regiment of soldiers. The Canadian Forces have also proven this with at least 15 regiments that reflect ethnic diversity.
For example: Seaforth Highlanders, Canadian Scottish Regiment and Sudbury’s Irish Regiment of Canada just to name a few.
Building an inclusive, diverse community can be very complex. By allowing cadets from a particular religious faith to form their own unit to hopefully one-day serving and protecting our nation would definitely be a Canadian thing to do. I see nothing wrong with their name being called ‘Surrey Sikhs’ or with this group to exist for that fact.
Looking at some of the past history of the Sikh military, Canada would be a fortunate country to have such a fighting force on its side. As one letter writer put it: “ These people are willing to put their religion on the line for Canada. Particularly when you consider that they would rather wear a turban instead of a steel helmet on the battlefield.” At times unfortunately I believe the Sikh community in Canada struggles with a perceived image problem. With encouraging Sikh youth to join the cadets and be passionate about their commitment towards Canada we will hopefully see positive changes on how this sect is viewed.
Where I identify a larger issue in all of this is when one of the organizers spearheading this discussion commented that, “without Sikh in the name the cadet corp wouldn’t have drawn as much interest.” This directly points us to a greater issue within the South Asian community. Our diverse communities need to become more involved in activities that not only pertain to their own culture or religion. To support initiatives such as this should not limit us to reach out to mainstream causes. In this case I honestly believe diversity can work in isolation and in partnership with the Canadian Forces for the betterment of our nation and keeping with British tradition. Let us not allow a name/religion to become a stumbling block for the greater good.
Ken “Kulwinder” Herar is a Mission-based writer and a winner of the champions of diversity award for his columns in the LINK newspaper and other Fraser Valley newspapers. Herar can be reached at kenherar@gmail.com or view his blog at http://www.kenherar.blogspot.com

Cycling4Diversity support grows around the province

Hi Ken & Sarina,
I want to thank you for the great presentation you gave to Learning Plus a few weeks ago.  Sarina, thanks for all your work in preparing and sorry we couldn't change the date to accommodate your schedule.  The audience appreciated all the information and one person wrote, "They are greatly to be applauded for starting this movement.  It is surely needed.  It is interesting to see that they have so much support around the province."  

Kudos to you and thanks again!
Wanda

Thursday, October 11, 2012

2010 Abbotsford Times Essay Contest

  Flipping through old articles. I came across this interesting piece by a young girl named Hailey Connor from Mouat Secondary. She finished in first place with her response in the Abbotsford Times 2010 essay question:" How can we build an inclusive, diverse community." Her response was fantastic and I will be sharing some of her brilliant ideas on the upcoming Cycling4Diversity ride. I remember when I told her she had won; she responded that she had been waiting by the phone for days to see if I would call . I have never forgotten that. She sums it up perfectly and how we need to be more inclusive. Thank you Hailey.

  First Place - Youth Category: Hailey Conner, Abbotsford

We live in an apparently multicultural society; a closer look will tell you that our community may be more aptly described as geographically divided.
Our multicultural groups tend to exist beside each other and often need not interact to go about their daily lives. This is reflected in the fact that there are defined areas which provide stores, restaurants and religious locations specific to one culture. This division, although convenient, also serves as a barrier between different cultures in our community communicating, living and learning together.
I think that this geographical division is the key to the solution to increasing multiculturalism in our community. In fact, there are several things that we can do to create a more multicultural society. In addition to having spaces where people of different cultures can be in the same place at the same time, we also need to provide reasons and create a willingness to do so.
How do we begin this process? We need to continue our efforts at increasing people's awareness and understanding of cultures other than their own. We understandably fear what we do not know so understanding more about other cultures may increase people's willingness to connect with those around us of different cultures.
The last and final thing we need is space. If we don't have anywhere to meet, wanting to meet and having a reason to meet are pointless. We could create or better utilize community spaces where members of different cultural groups are able to interact.
We already have places like this, but I believe that we need to have more of them and we need to make them more accessible to diverse groups. We need to find somewhere that people feel comfortable and more importantly like to go. We need to convince people that meeting, interacting and spending time with other cultures is worth the effort.
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OUR JUDGES
Rick Rake is an intrepid Abbotsford writer and editor who works with Click Media Works (www.rickrake.com). He is an active volunteer who now engages community through social media. The father of three has championed diversity issues for years.
Summer Dhillon's dynamic personality and contagious energy contributes to a low boredom threshold. Her primary passion is her role as one of Vancouver's top public relations professionals, specializing in branding strategies, guerilla marketing, media relations and event management.
Charn Kingra is currently employed as a member of the Abbotsford Police Department and serving in the Patrol Section. Charn has completed his doctorate degree and is also a faculty member with the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of the Fraser Valley.