Saturday, September 28, 2013

Returning back to the Abbotsford News & Mission City Record as a columnist


COLUMN: Cultural writing journey continues

On the Spot by Ken Herar
I am very excited about this opportunity to be back with the Abbotsford News and Mission City Record to continue our focus on cultural diversity.
When I started this writing journey way back in 1995 with Black Press, I would have never imagined that 18 years later I would be still on these pages.
So what keeps me plugging away?
It’s the people in the community who you get to engage with on a daily basis on how we can celebrate our cultural diversity and still remain inclusive in our neighbourhoods, sports teams and workplaces.
We speak a lot about our cultural diversity in Canada and there much to celebrate, but there is still an active void that needs to be filled.
In recent years, I am hearing more and more that our communities are becoming more culturally isolated and are various ethnic groups are not involved in mainstream activities like they were in past decades.
I will be exploring this issue along with many other exciting topics in my monthly column in the News and Record. If you feel you have something to say or comment, email at the address below.
As the Founder of Cycling4Diversity Foundation, my teammates and I had the opportunity to showcase our work and message at our booth at AbbyFest last Saturday in Abbotsford.
It was a fabulous day with many visitors expressing an interest to be part of our dynamic team and joining us to deliver our message at future events.
Preet Rai, who is a AbbyFest director, said: “As always, it was a huge success with the help of all the volunteers, performers and community partners.
“The attendance from the community was good and as always we are striving to achieve to get better.”
“Since Abbotsford is very multicultural, it is always great to see people from different cultures and some dressed up in their cultural clothing. We hope to see everyone in 2014.”
Interested in hearing the perspectives of those “new to Canada” in Mission?
Rick Rake of Click Media Works is working with Laura Hope of Mission Community Services Society, artist Mike Hayes and filmmaker Ian Low to create a dynamic folder of information that includes a specially produced 12-minute film featuring people from around the world who settled in the community.
The folder, with an attractive blue and white digitized map of the world on its cover, is titled:  “Welcoming New Canadians, The Mission Perspective.”
It will be shared with hundreds of community leaders from business, education, service clubs and other organizations in written form and online to help make the community more welcoming to immigrants and increase awareness and understanding of settlement and immigration issues in Mission, where 14 per cent of its citizens are from another country.
“Our focus is to build and sustain a strong, inclusive, welcoming community,” said Rake, who is a former Black Press newspaper editor in Mission and Abbotsford.
The Abbotsford News and Cycling4Diversity Foundation are proud to again be hosting the Abbotsford News Diversity Challenge School Essay Contest.
There is a 300-word essay contest for middle school children and a colouring contest for elementary kids.
The essay question is: “ What does multiculturalism mean to you and your family?” The deadline for both contests is Nov.1.
For further information, email me and I can provide you with both forms.
KenHerar@gmail.com