Friday, October 25, 2013

Cycling4Diversity Foundation featured in " Racism in Paradise"

Cycling4Diversity Foundation comments on "Racism in Paradise" series.


Bringing communities together ... by bike


One reader has started Cycling4Diversity Week, an initiative to foster intercultural relationships


Being a local columnist for the past 18 years in the Abbotsford and Mission area, and focusing on cultural diversity and racism issues, I wanted to share my story from a Fraser Valley perspective being one of the most diverse regions in the country.
I was stopped the other day and was asked as to why I would promote multiculturalism in a Punjabi School during an essay contest I was promoting and speaking about. I replied: "The main reason that brought me to this fine school was not only to promote multiculturalism and this contest, but to share in a discussion with some bright minds on finding ways that the South Asian community could be more inclusive with mainstream society."
I told the class that the "cultural divide" in Abbotsford is growing quickly and we all have a responsibility to be part of the larger community when we leave through these school doors each day. I shared examples of how to make it happen, like inviting kids from outside our own ethnicity to their homes for events like birthday parties.
Lastly, I told them they have a special role and part of the equation in creating an inclusive, diverse society. I concluded with this thought: "We all have it within us. We just have to discover it."
Another friend shared how she and her family went back to Montreal for a few weeks in the summer and found the city to be very integrated and friendly. Much more than here, she noted.
"People are very separate from each other in the West," she said, adding that her daughter came home crying one day because at school South Asian kids wouldn't play with her. For as much as I don't like to admit it. I know these examples are real.
As someone shared with me a few years ago: "Ken, when I come to Abbotsford, I can
feel racism."
This is the exact reason why I took my message to the South Asian community. The main reason why the "cultural divide"
in Canada has continued to grow is because we have allowed it to, and our elected officials have paid very little attention to the matter.
In the next 20 years, if Canadians do not tackle or change the course of action, the cultural polarization will continue to spread.
We're at a crucial turning point where we can build bridges and strengthen partnerships within our communities or face the consequences of growing isolation.
I recall getting gas in North Vancouver a few years back and went to pay the attendant and asked him, it must be nice living up here. He replied: "Yes, just moved up here from Abbotsford." I replied, "that's a big move."
He said: "I moved my family up here because we lived in a South Asian neighbourhood and nobody would speak to me or my family."
After being denied to go to a Christmas party in 2010 for being East Indian I knew something had to be done to highlight some of these growing concerns.
In 2011 I founded Cycling4Diversity, where our team went to schools in the Lower Mainland and spoke to students about cultural diversity, racism and inclusion. Cycling4Diversity unites multicultural communities through the sharing of personal experiences, which creates an environment of mutual trust and understanding.
During Cycling4Diversity Week in B.C., which is held every May, the C4D team seeks to foster intercultural relationships by encouraging students and citizens to expand their circle of friends by connecting with people from various backgrounds, showing respect for differences and encouraging inclusion in their schools and communities.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Cycling4Diversity Foundation team being welcomed into the schools by students

Cycling4Diversity gets ready for the Big ride in 2013

                                                                                     John Morrow Photo 
Getting motivated for the Big ride. Cycling4Diversity team members include: (from left) Ken Herar, Sarina Di Martino Derksen, Aaron Levy, Kris Foulds, Deputy Mayor Bill MacGregor and Deputy Police Chief Rick Lucy.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Cycling4Diversity Foundation makes a generous donation towards hit & run victim

Police look for suspects in hit and run

A 13-year-old Mission girl is spending the last week of her summer holidays helping a friend replace his bicycle after being involved in a hit and run incident last Wednesday.
When Jordyn Paige Donohue heard her schoolmate Tanner Whymark was knocked off his bike at the intersection of Hyde Street and Bracken Avenue by a truck, she didn't hesitate to help. The incident left Whymark with a broken ankle, bruises and other minor injuries. His bike was crushed.
Donohue set up a Facebook page, Let's Help Tanner Get a New Bike, to raise awareness and collect donations to buy Whymark a new mountain bike once he's well enough to ride again. The group already has more than 300 members.
Donohue says what happened to her friend makes her "sad and sick. Why would you hit a kid and just leave him?
"I hope he gets well soon."
Whymark's mom, Michelle, says her son. who loved to ride and tinker with his bike every day, is "very sore" and has a long road ahead of him.
"We're taking it day by day," she said, adding numerous medical appointments are on the horizon.
"He's very upset about his bike, which is toast."
Both mother and son are thankful for what Donohue is doing.
"Jordyn has a big, huge heart and she's an amazing girl. It's very touching."
A trust account has been set up at Prospera Credit Union to collect donations. The account number is 3216397.
Mission RCMP say the hit and run happened around 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 21. They are now looking for the truck and its three occupants who fled from the scene. The suspect vehicle is described as a newer black Ford F150 with silver trim.
Anyone with information about the hit and run is asked to contact Mission RCMP at 604-826-7161. If you wish to remain anonymous please call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. A cash reward of up to $2,000 will be paid for any information which leads to an arrest and charge.