Sunday, December 28, 2014

Mission Springs Brewing Company raised more than $3,000 to purchase toys for the Mission Christmas Bureau.  - Submitted
Mission Springs Brewing Company raised more than $3,000 to purchase toys for the Mission Christmas Bureau.
— image credit: Submitted
Many local organizations, businesses and individuals have answered the call for help by the Mission Christmas Bureau.
“The community has really come together from every direction you can imagine, from youth sports teams and individuals to businesses and non-profit groups,” said bureau coordinator Phil Hope.
In the past two week, enough donations have been collected to fill most of the 600 hampers being distributed this year.
Two weeks ago The Record reported only 23 per cent of this year’s $130,000 goal had been reached. That number has jumped to 65 per cent with $85,000.
Last week representatives from Gateway Casinos and Entertainment Ltd., which owns Chances in Mission, brought in 450 pounds of items and more than $1,800 in cash to the bureau, while Cycling4Diversity riders collected enough food and gifts around Mission to fill five hampers this past weekend.
An anonymous donor also wrote a cheque for $5,000, said Hope, noting these were just a few examples of the kind of generous people and organizations that have come through the Christmas Bureau’s doors.
The amount of funds raised from last week’s Christmas at the Clarke benefit concert are not yet known.
“I want to thank everyone for responding,” said Hope.
But even as the last hamper is given out this week, the work Hope does with the Mission Community Services Food Centre will continue into January and throughout the year.
The number of people who registered for hampers this year decreased by about 100 compared to last Christmas, but the total receiving help from the Food Centre has increased by five per cent compared to last year, according to Hope, who is puzzled by the numbers.
“It’s troublesome,” said Hope, noting financial donations are always needed. To donate to the Food Centre, call 604-826-3634.

Friday, December 26, 2014


News

Cycling4Diversity raises money

Cycling4Diversity Foundation Food Drive raised approximately $800 to 1,000 dollars on Dec 21st - Photo submitted
Cycling4Diversity Foundation Food Drive raised approximately $800 to 1,000 dollars on Dec 21st
— image credit: Photo submitted
Cycling4Diversity Foundation Food Drive raised approximately $800 to $1,000 on Dec 21 as a small group or riders cycled throughout Mission stopping at about 50 homes for the Mission Christmas Bureau.
Cycling4Diversity executive co-ordinator Anne-Marie Sjoden said: "No family should never have to go without food, and that is what motivated us to participate in such a worthy cause. We would not have been able to do this without the kind folks that helped us out with the donations. And of course the riders and drivers the help transport the food to Phil Hope of the Mission Food Bank."
C4D members who participated were: Ken Herar, Elizabeth Lloyd, Erik Thiessen and Sabrina Giacometti-Thiessen.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cycling4Diversity collecting food for Christmas Bureau


News

Mission-based cycling team collects for Christmas Bureau

Cycling4Diversity founder Ken Herar and a small team of cyclists will be collecting donations for the Mission Christmas Bureau this weekend.  - Carol Aun
Cycling4Diversity founder Ken Herar and a small team of cyclists will be collecting donations for the Mission Christmas Bureau this weekend.
— image credit: Carol Aun
A Mission-based group that promotes diversity in BC will be lending its name to help the Mission Christmas Bureau this year.
Cycling4Diversity (C4D) is about connecting with people, explained founder Ken Herar, who offered to help after ready an article on the Mission Christmas Bureau's struggle in this newspaper last week.
"This is a project we can undertake to make a difference," said Herar. "It's a beautiful thing when you can help someone."
A small group of riders will pedal through Mission streets Sunday afternoon to collect donations for the non-profit organization run by Mission Community Services Society.
A vehicle or two will accompany the cyclists as they collect the contributions.
Donors don't have to be home when the team rides by, said Herar. "They can leave the donation outside for us."
Anyone with a can or a few shopping bags full of non-perishable food to donate can call Herar to schedule a time for pick up Sunday. Herar can be reached at 604-615-2499 or cycling4diversity@gmail.com.
C4D was created four years ago to promote diversity and eliminate racism.

Friday, November 28, 2014

COLUMN: Trapped within narrow-mindedness

I received an interesting letter from a local reader. She writes about going to a recent Diwali function in Mission and describes that 99 per cent of the Punjabis were rude. She describes that people were blocking her view and had no concern for others.
She also says that no one should be allowed to come to this country unless they speak one of our official languages. She also talks about how Punjabi children just entering school cannot speak English properly or do not behave, and the parents pay no attention to what the teachers say.
At the end of her letter she says she has many Punjabi friends and they all agree that most of the Punjabis have no manners and don’t know how to behave properly.
Well, enough said.
I am Punjabi and I’m very proud to be one. I am not denying, we Punjabis don’t have any issues to overcome, like any other community groups, but to say 99 per cent of of us are rude is the farthest from the truth and statistically incorrect.
I do agree, we have many people that cannot speak the English language, but that doesn’t define us as Canadians.
Punjabis are noted to be one of most generous people on the planet, who donate annually to many charities. I posted this letter on my Facebook to gather a community response and many agreed that the Punjabi community are always willing to help to make our community a better place. You cannot judge a few, for many. This is the one of the difficulties of living in a multicultural community people often get trapped with this narrow-mindedness and can’t see that everyone is not the same and shouldn’t be painted with the same brush. Some thought, I shouldn’t respond to her, but I believed that it was important to bring this discussion forward  and create a level of understanding in a respectful manner. That’s how we’re going to see change, not by hiding it in a corner of darkness.
Cycling4Diversity executive co-ordinator Anne-Marie Sjoden said: “ I had the opportunity to visit a couple of the Punjabi schools, during our ride and each and every student spoke very good English. The teachers had amazing comments about their students. A very good friend is a principal at a Punjabi school. He has never said there are problems with kids not knowing English. In fact he has said quite the opposite and told me that the parents are very involved. I would have to disagree with the comment about 99 per cent of the Punjabi community being rude. I have always felt very welcomed at the temple.”
Kevin Francis said: “In 2003, the human genome project came to what should have been a staggering conclusion: we are all related.
I know from experience that adapting to a new cultural milieu is difficult without having to live up to arbitrary standards, indeed that’s why we, as a country, support multiculturalism; but integration cannot be achieved upon a designated schedule. Each one of us learns at our own pace.
Let’s not fall into the trap of intolerance because of cultural ignorance. It spawns an all too slippery slope that makes us forget what Dr. Francis Collins said at the end of the human genome project: indeed there is but one race, the human race.”
After reading the strongly worded letter it strengthened my belief in Safe Harbour training for people who don’t recognize diversity in their communities, said Rick Rake, Local Immigration Partnership (LIP) coordinator for Mission Community Services Society’s four-member Settlement and Integration Department.
“For anyone sharing these kind of beliefs, I challenge them to check out the Safe Harbour, Respect for All, website atwww.safeharbour.ca,” said Rake, who has witnessed far too many breaches of positive relationships with people who are different in terms of culture, ethnicities, religions, languages, abilities, ages, genders, and sexual orientations.
“We should strive to connect more meaningfully with one another by making an effort to understand our differences and similarities,” he said.
To read the letter visit  kenherar.blogspot.com
Kenherar@gmail.com

Monday, November 24, 2014

Abbotsford News letter I recieved. Do you believe this letter is racist or does it speak the truth about Punjabi's?



This is just another example of ignorance, rudeness and lack of basic manners on the part of 99% of the Punjabi community.




It may be appropriate in India to ignore rules, regulations and laws but in many other countries it is not. If things on sale have a limit then that is the limit.




At the recent Diwali celebrations at the Clarke Theatre in Mission 99% of the Punjabis were very rude. Adults and children were walking up and down aisles and blocking the view of those trying to watch the dancers on stage, going in and out of seats with no concern for those that were sitting, never saying excuse me, etc. Please and thank you, sorry, and many other common courtesies seem to be unknown words to Punjabis and they talk to everyone like they are their servants. 99% lack even basic manners.




No one should be allowed to come to this country unless they at least speak one of our official languages which are English and French. If they don't at least speak one of these languages they can stay home until they learn. There are many, many free classes to learn to speak English in Abbotsford and yet very few of the adults take advantage of these.




Kindergarten and gr. l teachers in all provinces have problems with Punjabi children who come to start school and have no idea how to behave, cannot speak English properly, and their parents pay no attention to what teachers say.




Very few Punjabis even try to assimilate unless they are well educated upper class people and even then many of them lack basic manners.




Immigrants from other countries came to Canada, including my grandparents, and those that didn't speak English learned right away without any FREE classes. They mixed with English speaking people already here in the workplace and their neighbourhoods until they learned to speak the language. They also learned proper manners in most cases, obeyed the laws in place, adapted the dress of Canadians, and did not expect Canadians to be patient with them if they could plainly see the immigrant was not even trying to learn the language, assimilate, etc.




I am friends with many Punjabis and they all agree that most of the Punjabis have no manners, have no idea how to behave properly and don't even try. When I am at most of the Punjabi functions like weddings, parties, etc. I am appalled with much of what I see.




Perhaps you could do more by writing columns on proper behavior and manners so that those that don't know will learn.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Let's share our butter with everyone.



Whoever, thought butter would cause racial tensions. Well, I witnessed a few instances during last week’s sale in a local grocery store. Here’s how the story goes, a South Asian woman had over her limit of butter in her cart, and was reaching for the last four that were available. The Caucasian woman said to the South Asian female those last four are mine. And so the shoving match ensues, between the two.
We must remember, there was a limit of four butter per/person and customers were walking out with way above their suggested limit. The South Asian lady was told by staff to return the remaining butters to the shelf and give the other customers an opportunity to purchase the three - day sale.


Its situations such as this that can create barriers and stereotypes. I’m not trying to pick on any particular community, but the South Asian do like a lot of butter and that’s fine. But, there needs to be a focus on following the general rules of retail when applied. I know this may sound funny and everything, but many people do get offended if rules are ignored. As we strive to bridge our multicultural communities together, we don’t need butter being on the menu of discussion of racial remarks. We should not let small issues such as this deter us from what we should be focusing on in terms of our cultural diversity relationships.

Also, recently I had a discussion with a senior citizen on the topic how language can be barrier, for those that do not speak the English language. This lady went on and on about how seniors from the South Asian community should try to learn English. I shared with her in a perfect world this would all make complete sense, but many struggle with learning a new language. I understand both sides of the equation very well, but with patience and understanding, we can make everyone feel welcome. I believe, overall the entire community has done a very good job in embracing each other through our differences. Sure, there is room for improvement, but there’s much to be proud of.

Four year old Rylee Melenka, enjoyed his fourth Halloween as Bumble Bee from the movie Transformers. He explained to me, that his costume gets more amazing each year and his candy haul gets bigger as well. Halloween is a wonderful opportunity to meet people and children in your neighborhoods, bringing our communities closer together.For example, young Rylee, recognized houses and people from years prior chatting with many of them.

Ken Herar@gmail.com

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Cycling4Diversity team was at the 7th Annual Abby Fest with a Dunk Tank

 
It’s hard to believe that Abby Fest is right around the corner. Actually, it starts tomorrow morning from 10:00 am – 8:00 pm at the Agri Fair Building and it’s in 7th year. Featuring all day entertainment, a beer garden, multicultural food trucks from around the globe and more than 60 booths highlighting every facet of our community. The festival attracts more than 4000 visitors each year. Having gone on several occasions it’s always fun for all ages. For those, who may struggle with the acceptance of diversity this is a great venue to challenge yourself and learn about the people and organizations that exists in our community. Diversity is simply about people and that is what Abby Fest is simply about. After shaking so many hands and having amazing conversations I always walk away so fulfilled every time I attend this event. Preet Rai who is a School Trustee in Abbotsford and is one of the organizers of Abby Fest said: “we have so much multicultural talent in our community and Abby Fest features this talent through its colorful dances, mouth-watering multicultural cuisine. The festival is a relaxing way to enjoy the diversity of our beautiful city with family and friends.”
 I recently had a friend who contacted me about how she wanted her son to learn more about diversity. We met Sabrina and her son Erik  for coffee and I gave him a Cycling4Diversity shirt and explained to him what C4D meant. He was thrilled to have one and share in the message with his friends and classmates.
For those, who have young children this is a great opportunity to open their minds to different things that exist in our community. All it takes is just one amazing moment to change a growing mind forever. This year, Cycling4Diversity Foundation will be having a Dunk Tank at the event and we encourage everyone come out and take down a few members. Come and get someone wet in the name of diversity. C4D Executive Coordinator Anne-Marie Sjoden said: “After great success with the ride this past spring and the many other events like the Dunk Tank at Mission Fest, we decided to bring it back again to Abby Fest for everyone’s enjoyment”. 
Just a few weeks ago, I witnessed a gas station fire here in town. The first thing that came to mind was to clear all the 19 years worth of columns that existed in a dozen boxes or so in my attic. I have been wanting to do this for years and family has constantly reminded me to clear this clutter. After witnessing this fire, I took their advice and after a dozen recycling bags filled to the top, we narrowed it down to two boxes. Sifting through hundreds of papers, it becomes very clear how news becomes ancient so quickly.  Instead, of keeping the entire paper I just ripped the page my column was on and will be delivering these boxes to the archives in Mission for preservation. I urge you all to do the same and keep your home free of any fire hazards. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Vancouver Sun Blogger Gord Kurenoff's reflection on Cycling4Diversity

 Pedalling positive messages: Cycling4Diversity is no gimmick for Ken Herar’s agents of change

PHOTO: Ric Ernst/PNG
Ken Herar of Mission has turned a personal project into an inspirational Cycling4Diversity team in just four years, as the bike crew tackles racism, tolerance and cultural bonding.

Posted by:

Conan O’Brien rarely fails to make this comedy-lover laugh, so it caught me off guard last Tuesday when the red-haired TV host had me on the verge of tears.
Five years ago, after NBC kicked O’Brien to the curb when ratings slipped at the venerable Tonight Show, Coco got stuck in a depression-like funk.
Instead of therapy or drugs, the Irishman’s “miracle cure” came in the form of a bright orange and green bicycle, with lots of shamrocks plastered all over it.
“Out of the blue, Robin Williams buys me a new bicycle to cheer me up. Like who does that?”
Williams, a self-admitted cycling “geek” who listed Lance Armstrong among his best buddies on bikes, apparently had done this often to cheer people up. It was like a Patch Adams with pedals moment.
(See Conan’s touching tribute video HERE.)
Last Monday, the 63-year-old Williams committed suicide. The pro cycling community immediately flooded Twitter with RIPs and encouraged people to go ride somewhere in Robin’s memory, to ride for fun, and try to make a positive difference in someone’s life.
ROBIN
Which brings me to Ken Herar of Mission, who four years ago started Cycling4Diversity after learning of a Fraser Valley Christmas party that didn’t want East Indians attending.
Herar, who in his teens was the Fraser Valley’s version of Milos Raonic on local tennis courts, just happens to be East Indian, although over the years he’s been accused of “acting too white” at times. Critics, eh?
For the past 19 years the class-act grocery clerk, now 45, has been an award-winning community newspaper columnist. He has tackled such issues as tolerance, acceptance, equality, bullying, harassment, homophobia, abuse, violence and discrimination.
Kind of like Mike Beamish, the veteran Vancouver Sun football writer who makes words dance, who says this on his Twitter account: “I’m one of seven billion people trying to get along with the other 6,999,999,999 in this world.”
Herar heard from a couple critics how the Cycling4Diversity project seemed like a “gimmick,” much like the mouthpieces who chirped the same claptrap about Clara’s Big Ride, when Clara Hughes rode 12,000 kilometres over 110 days to talk to 100-plus schools and 235 community events about mental health and the silent killer that is depression.
Ask Robin Williams’ family today how much of a “gimmick” depression is. Or Amanda Todd’s family. Or the thousands of people Hughes touched. (To get an idea how that project touched people, read former colleague Christie Blatchford’s great story HERE.)
Or ask the people of colour who Herar talks to with his volunteer touring team what it’s like to continually be the butt of hatred or hurtful jokes.
“I can’t count the number of times East Indians have been told to ‘go back to Surrey’ or ‘wherever you came from.’ It’s not right.
“Nor is it right to bash gays and lesbians, or deny people jobs because they’re over-40 or deny helping somebody because they aren’t your favourite colour or you don’t like them because of their religious faith or because they live in the valley and not the city.”
Abbotsford Coun. Dave Loewen, left, Dr. Bill MacGregor, and Kulwinder Singh Dillon, right, have brought credibility and stronger voices to Cycling4Diversity, says Ken Herar of Mission.
Abbotsford Coun. Dave Loewen, left, Dr. Bill MacGregor, and Kulwinder Singh Dillon, right, have brought credibility and stronger voices to Cycling4Diversity, says Ken Herar of Mission.
Stating that racism hasn’t changed much over the years — “lots of people are against it, but little is done except to talk about it” — his personal mission was to be pro-active and initiate dialogue, no matter how controversial the subject. It’s easier to raise awareness, he says, when you are a passionate agent of change.
“Initially, Cycling4Diversity was going to be a one-year thing. But it really took off. To be honest, I was surprised and pleased how well it was received and needed.
“We now have a small team doing big things at Cycling4Diversity. We have community leaders, councillors, people with different backgrounds. Our goal is to open minds and get people to mingle. Be ‘Canadian friendly’ to each other, if you will.”
Herar admits the formation of ethnic soccer leagues or service clubs slow down that bonding process, and he remains puzzled when he hears of new immigrants who refuse to get involved in Canada’s traditions or festivals.
“It’s natural, I suppose, that people feel more comfortable in their own communities, but there needs to be an effort to mix with others. Get to know your neighbour, celebrate differences, educate each other and make a difference. Be good Canadians.”
Cycling4Diversity, which has visited more than 100 schools, senior citizen centres, workplaces, prisons, service clubs and community centres in its first four years, has also handed out more than 1,000 T-shirts, funded in part by generous sponsors.
They have a splendid website — Cycling4diversity.ca — and members get involved in many community events. Last month Herar sat in a dunk tank at Mission Fest raising funds for the group’s fifth season.
“I think some people, including Mayor Ted Adlem, wanted to see me drown! And they laughed about it. That’s kind of scary,” he chuckles.
Dr. Bill MacGregor and Dave Loewen, both councillors with the City of Abbotsford, have helped take Cycling4Diversity to a new level with their participation.
“Bill is a gifted public speaker (and former principal/high school football coach) who connects so well with kids. And Coun. Loewen is so passionate and community minded. Those two, along with Abbotsford Deputy Police Chief Rick Lucy, really give us a stronger voice and added credibility.
“And Kulwinder Singh Dillon, the grandfather of our team, is critical to opening doors and connecting with everybody. He’s just a cool, likable guy with a big heart.”
Herar, who I’m proud to call a friend, admits he’s not a serious cyclist, and struggles to change a flat tire or fit into some of the skin-hugging Lycra cycling outfits. But his strength is connecting with people and motivating them to change mindsets and tolerance levels. It’s no gimmick.
“Kids who we have talked to in the past see me in the mall now and say ‘there’s The Cycling Man.’ That feels pretty good. It shows we connected, which is a start.
“We strive to keep our message real. We don’t sugar-coat it. I’m so lucky to have a great team of people who really want to make the world a better place — at least we’re trying.”

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Celebrating 19 years as a Abbotsford News columnist

My 19 Years As A Newspaper Columnist Has Been All About Building Positive Community Relationships


By Ken Herar
It’s hard to believe 19 years has slipped by as a columnist and over 10 years with this paper. One of the most important things, I’ve learned is creating relationships in our community is far more valuable than being opinionated on things that really don‘t matter. The truth is we don’t know it all and we need to be more inclusive with all our diverse communities by listening and having an open mind. We should never stop building intercultural relationships and that is something we have unfortunately done. For example, in my travels in the Abbotsford/Mission area I rarely see people from different cultures walking together in our communities. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but it should be happening a lot more due to the size of diverse population. People say they believe in diversity, but unfortunately they don’t practice the basic fundamentals of it. Diversity is not a complicated word; it’s simply about creating friendships through are differences.
Over the past two decades, I have kept every correspondence that has been emailed to me and reading some of the positive and negative remarks all I can say is that we’re very fortunate to reside in a multicultural country. I have been placed in a leadership role all these years and I’ve taken this responsibility very seriously. Some weeks, it feels like it’s a full-time job with all the e-mails and invitations. I’m proud to say I have always made an effort to reach back to all those who have reached out.
After being denied in 2010 to go to a Christmas party for being East Indian I knew that much work remained. As the founder, of Cycling4Diversity our team has visited close to 100 schools in a short four years. Through this proactive approach we’re seeing change in our: neighbourhoods, parenting, sports teams, and workplaces. I’m happy to announce at this time I will be staying on for my 20th year and excited to be part of it. The best part of what I like about this job is I get to meet many incredible faces in our community and give them an opportunity to be part of an important discussion.
Last week, I was honoured and surprised to have received the Community/Literary Ambassador Award, from the Writer’s International Network (Canada).
In 2013,  local author Theresa Chevalier, also received the WIN Distinguished Writer’s Award for her historical novels “Shameful Innocence” and “Green Hell. “Writer’s International Network  celebrates and honors people of all cultures whose work touches the lives of others in positive and meaningful ways,” said Chevalier.
Chevalier, novels feature fictional characters living through very real historical times. Teachers have recommended her books to their students to aid in their studies. “I love going to WIN awards ceremonies. People from all over the world come together and share poems, songs and dance. This gives me inspiration and encouragement to love all and help to make a difference in the world, even if just in little ways.”

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

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Received the Community/Literary Ambassador Award from the Writer's International Network (Canada)

Cycling4Diversity in the Langley Times

Team cycles for diversity

Members of the Cycling 4 Diversity team brave a torrential downpour on Friday, riding from Langley Secondary to H.D. Stafford, where the group of educators, politicians and community organizers spoke to 100 students about celebrating and supporting people’s differences. Founder, Ken Herar, cycled 200 km from Victoria to Abbotsford. - Monique TAMMINGA/Langley Times
Members of the Cycling 4 Diversity team brave a torrential downpour on Friday, riding from Langley Secondary to H.D. Stafford, where the group of educators, politicians and community organizers spoke to 100 students about celebrating and supporting people’s differences. Founder, Ken Herar, cycled 200 km from Victoria to Abbotsford.
— image credit: Monique TAMMINGA/Langley Times
In 2011, Ken Herar was told he wasn’t welcome to a Christmas party in Surrey because he was East Indian.
“I called up to get two tickets to this party and the woman on the line asked me if I was East Indian.
“I told her I was and she said they weren’t allowing East Indians at this party,” Herar recalls.
“I thought she was joking.”
Here it was 2011, and this discrimination was happening to him.
“It hit me right then that racism hasn’t gone away.
“We have to be a few steps ahead of it and that’s why we are here today,”  Herar told more than 100 H.D. Stafford Middle School students last Friday.
After that incident, Herar created an organization called Cycling4Diversity, in an attempt to deliver a message to students across B.C. about celebrating our cultural existence, but also to encourage dialogue about being inclusive.
With the event now in its fourth year, the team of cyclists visited 15 cities and more than 20 schools last week, to speak with students about being inclusive.
The team of eight to 10 riders, along with five support staff, rode under a torrential downpour from Langley Secondary to H.D. Stafford on Friday, to deliver that message.
Among the riders were LSS teacher, Gurp Mahil, LSS principal, Dawne Tomlinson, Langley Times editor Frank Bucholtz and Langley City Councillor Dave Hall.
“What we are asking is,  do one thing to be inclusive,” said Herar.
“Maybe someone doesn’t speak English, but try to make a connection.”
Don’t make assumptions about people.
“I was born and raised here. India is a foreign country to me and I don’t speak the language,” he said.
Tomlinson told the crowd of Grade 7 and 8 students that Langley Secondary  students have a message for them.
“Know that we are very accepting and safe community. We are accepting of what you wear and how you talk,” she said. To learn more go to cycling4diversity.ca.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Cycling4Diversity finishes another tour through the Lower Mainland

Cycling4Diversity Team Peddles To Another Finish In Celebrating Our Distinct Society

Left to Right: Bill MacGregor, Anne Marie Sjoden, Dave Loewen, Harjit Sajjan, Norm MacLeod and Ken Herar
By Ken Herar
The Cycling4Diversity team recently finished its four day journey (May 20th-May 23rd) from Mission to Mission. The team of a dozen, or so C4D team members visited 20 schools in 15 cities, spreading the message of being inclusive throughout the Lower Mainland to thousands and thousands of students to celebrate Cycling4Diversity Week in BC from May 18th-May 24th.
The team of riders left Mission on the morning of May 20th from the Mission Friendship Centre, where they were gifted with a Bandana and Pray Ties ceremony for blessings.
Overall, the ride was smooth, but challenging, nevertheless in trying to reach the schools in the scheduled times. The team completed an average of 5-6 schools per day from: Elementary, Middle and Secondary. The message was well received and our team was encouraged and welcomed to return in the future. Some mayors and council members even pedaled with us or met our team at the schools to gracefully extend welcoming letter or proclamation. In total, the C4D team received 10 proclamations, including one from the Province of British Columbia declaring it: Cycling4Diversity Week from May 18th-May 24th.
During this week, members encouraged students to make a special effort and develop intercultural relations with fellow students and break any conceived barriers that may exist in schools, neighborhoods or workplaces. Let’s face it, racism still exists unfortunately and cultural isolation is a growing issue in some of our communities. C4D member and Abbotsford Coun. Bill MacGregor, who spent decades in the school system and retired as a principal connected with students, during each of his presentations. He spoke about author Stephen Convey 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. He referred to Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood. This relates to our overall message, that if we all took a moment to listen or reach out to some one, that is one way of clearing up any stereotypes or misconception that may exist, between different cultural groups. We all have biases and sometimes through discussions like these, people may take the time to change any past behaviors through reflection. Parents also plays an important role in this equation and communication is vital how we grow as a integrated community.
The team visited 4 schools in the Abbotsford/Mission area on May 20th, which included: Mission Secondary, Silverdale Elementary, Matsqui Elementary and Dasmesh Punjabi School. Commanding Officer of the British Columbia Regiment Lieutenant-Colonel Harjit Sajjan said: “Mr. Herar has taken a unique method of promoting diversity and inclusiveness with Cycling 4 Diversity. C4D has professionals from diverse backgrounds promoting diversity to kids while encouraging physical fitness. I had the pleasure of joining the team this year and I can say with surety that I gained more from the experience.”
Coun Dave Loewen said: “The four-day, 22-school Cycling4Diversity trip was my first, and it didn’t disappoint. The welcome we received wherever we went was genuinely open and warm. I came away from that experience believing that an authentic awareness existed that our message was not only needed, but that adherence to the message was essential for the creation of a more peaceful world.
“It was my impression that the students we spoke to, particularly in the Greater Vancouver area, already have a grasp of this, and that my generation has much to learn from the younger generation. I observed that they are more fortunate than I was at their age, in that my school was ‘all white’, while the cultural diversity that exists today contrasts sharply. One school we visited had 70 different languages represented in their student body.
Needless to say, our message bears repeating many times, and I trust I will have more opportunities to participate in this worthwhile initiative.”
Other members from the local area were: Anne-Marie Sjoden, Norm MacLeod, Bob Soltis, Randy Cairns and Anoop Tatlay. The C4D team is being recognized tomorrow with a Community Service Award at the District of Mission annual awards event.
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

Monday, May 19, 2014

Cycling4Diversity rides into H.D. Stafford

Cycling4Diversity will visit H.D. Stafford next Friday

by Ken Herar

Cycling4Diversity Week is right around the corner in B.C.
This year, Cycling4Diversity takes place from May 18 to 24.
A team of cyclists will be visiting 15 cities and over 20 schools to speak with students on diversity-related matters. The team of eight to 10 riders, along with five support staff, will deliver a message of celebrating our cultural existence, but also encouraging dialogue about being inclusive.
Our primary focus as Canadians should always remain to build  stronger cross-cultural dialogue in our neighbourhoods, workplaces and sports teams. This is something we haven’t done very well, and changes have to happen sooner than later.
As someone who is on the front lines on this topic, and being a columnist for 19 years with Black Press newspapers, I am hearing more and more that our multi-ethnic communities are not connected and isolation is unfortunately growing.
This is not to say there aren’t many fantastic people and organizations, who are doing exceptional work, but more people need to get involved to include diverse citizens into their daily lives. For example, I hardly ever see people from different nationalities, where I reside, walking or speaking to each other in my day-to-day activities.
Is cultural diversity actually pulling us together or further apart? Cultural diversity is a beautiful thing, and it is how our nation was built. It should not only be limited to focusing on our cultural traits, but more on establishing friendships.
It works better when friendships are created. Then people will look past any obvious differences or barriers that may exist. For example, I often ask myself, why is it today that we still have ethnic sports teams or leagues, here in Canada? It is a perfect example of how diversity is pulling us apart in our own backyard.
Sports should be the easiest way for people to meet each other, not create complete strangers. Coaches and parents need to take a closer look at what they are teaching, so this wrong can be corrected.
When the focus of including and welcoming people doesn‘t exist, then as Canadians we have to re-examine our values. Be proud of your cultural heritage, but don’t stop there.
This is one of the main reasons I started Cycling4Diversity Foundation. It was to capture this imagination and create a discussion around this important topic.
I am amazed how well the message has been received by all levels of governments, schools and businesses. I only intended to do the ride once back in 2011, but with encouragement, C4D continues to grow each year, attracting interest around the world.
Our team is looking forward to visiting Langley on Friday, May 23, and speaking with students at H.D. Stafford Middle School. A group of riders from Langley Secondary School, along with their teacher Gurp Mahil, and our very own Times editor Frank Bucholtz, will be riding with the C4D team on this day to show unity and support on this message of diversity.
Mahil said: “Students from LSS are looking forward to becoming positive role models for future LSS students. Our school is a very diverse one, with students from across the globe, who have multiple educational needs. This is our second year participating with Cycling4Diversity and we want to help spread this message to other schools in the district.”
Ken Herar is a columnist with the Abbotsford News, who began Cycling4Diversity in 2011. He can be reached at KenHerar@gmail.com.

Cycling4Diversity team members proudly Adopts A Block in the District of Mission

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Remembering one of the great Canadians: Naranjan Grewall

   

Remembering a Fraser Valley icon

Ken Herar, The Province

Published: Monday, April 21, 2014
This year is a milestone year in the District of Mission and for all Canadians. It's actually 60 years ago that Naranjan Grewall was appointed as mayor of Mission City, making him the first South Asian in Canada to hold such a political office.
Four years earlier he was elected to city council, making him the first visible minority and Indo-Canadian elected to public office in this country. He was later nominated as a provincial candidate for the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) in 1956, making him also the first visible minority to run as a candidate in Canada. He was narrowly defeated by Socred Labour Minister Lyle Wicks. Voting rights were finally extended to: women, Chinese, Hindus (South Asian), as they referred to them then, and Japanese-Canadians in 1948.
Out of all of the stories I've covered during my 19 years as a writer, this story has all the fingerprints of a blockbuster movie. The more I researched his life the more I learned about the huge legacies he left behind, not only in our local community, but in our province. His foresight and vision were unfortunately ahead of his time. He is one of the very few that changed public policy at a time when it was needed. Grewall was committed to changing how government does business in this province, paving the way for future generations. One of those legacies he left behind was the Mission Tree Farm. In 1958, Mission was the first municipality in the province to be given responsibility to monitor their own forest called Tree Farm Licence No. 26.
The District of Mission has managed this resource since 1958 and it is often cited as an excellent example of how a locally managed forest can provide benefits to the community. Since 1990, surplus revenues have provided millions to capital projects in the local area.
Mission Mayor Ted Adlem shared his thoughts: "The District of Mission is very proud that we were the first community in Canada to have elected a South Asian mayor. Former mayor Grewall is someone to be celebrated, as he represents the spirit of Mission. We believe in the strength of a diverse community and Mr. Grewall did an admirable job in representing his cultural heritage and bringing that voice to local government."
My father Tok Herar, who knew Grewall and also worked on his campaign said: "He was a one of a kind mayor. He was progressive and worked hard for the betterment of everyone. I always enjoyed my time with him and he trusted me. His legacy should never be forgotten and his commitment to change."
The incident between former B.C. premier W.A.C. Bennett and Grewall demonstrated how fierce political battles were fought in B.C. and could have been one of the deciding factors of granting the tree farm.
During the much-heated 1956 provincial election, Grewall, as a CCF candidate, commonly addressed the issues of taxes, bridges, farmers and the forestry industry, which he claimed were being "monopolized" by a handful of large companies in the province.
He spoke passionately before the provincial cabinet and testified at the Sloan Commission on behalf of small logging operators in B.C. Grewall commented that the previous government had "broken faith" with the public in forest administration. He added the licence was granted to Clayburn Brick and Tile, of which former premier Byron Johnson was a major shareholder while in office.
 Grewall referred to these stakeholders as "timber maharajahs," and said the system would revert to a "form of feudalism, which I left 30 years ago." Robert Sommers, B.C. Forest Minister at the time, would later be convicted on bribery charges years later and sentenced to prison. This scandal was also known as the "Sommers Scandal" and one that overshadowed Bennett until be passed away in 1979.
Just before election day, the premier spoke in Mission City, which was supposed to be the last leg of the long summer campaign. During Bennett's Social Credit address, many of the uninvited CCF supporters gathered and heckled him from inside and outside the hall, making it one of the most memorable moments in B.C. political history.
Bennett spoke for more than two hours and amplifiers carried his voice to the crowd and those unable to squeeze into the hall.
During the first half of his speech, the premier's smile was well in evidence as he jibed back at his hecklers. Bennett showed no fear of his hecklers, combining humour and charisma to fight them. At one point he even called out: "I just love hecklers."
When Bennett announced there would be no debt by 1962, a heckler cried out: "You won't be here in 1962!" The premier shot back: "I'll be here in '82!" Bennett said efforts were made to get the Mission High School auditorium for the meeting, but it wasn't available, "which shows that schools are not owned by the government and I am not a dictator."
At this point a voice was heard shouting out, "baloney!" The heckler was CCF candidate Grewall, who proceeded to enter the hall and began to seat himself on the stage, "to the accomplishment of mixed cheers and catcalls."
The premier continued his speech, as many cried out to hear Grewall speak. Bennett said that the CCF and Liberals could rent their own hall if they wished to address the gathering.
Speaking with former premier Dave Barrett in 2003, he recalled hearing many incredible stories about Grewall, when he first arrived in Canada in 1957.
Barrett said during the interview: "He was an icon, I didn't think I had a chance of getting elected in his riding. He lost the election, but won the hearts of many."
When Barrett became premier in 1972, he was invited to the Sikh Temple in Vancouver and was presented with a ceremonial sword.
As he received the sword, he told the audience: "This isn't for me, this is for Naranjan Grewall. He is our true hero."
Barrett and Grewall never met, but he started his political career in Grewall's former riding of Dewdney, when he first got elected to the B.C. legislature in 1960.
When Grewall was nominated as a candidate for the CCF party in the Dewdney riding in 1956, this drew excitement. But, according to Barrett, Grewall faced open discrimination on the campaign trail.

"The former mayor knew the risk he was taking and many people were surprised he took this risk to enter the race," Barrett said.
Barrett said Grewall overcame many racial insults along the way.
"Every kid in the North Fraser who thinks he or she is being discriminated against, should read the Grewall story and the challenges he faced."

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Grewall was later found dead in a Seattle motel room with a gunshot wound to the head in July 1957. It was ruled a suicide, but many who knew him don't believe this end result. He was 47 years old.

Ken Herar has been a writer on diversity topics in the Fraser Valley for 19 years. He was the recipient of the Champion of Diversity at the Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Awards in 2007 and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. He is also the founder of Cycling4Diversity Foundation, which speaks on issues of multiculturalism and inclusion.

Cycling4Diversity Week is fast approaching

Remembering Naranjan Grewall in The Province

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Thanking and presenting Santhi Rathinakumar and wife with Cycling4Diversity shirts for their nomination of the Neiska Awards

 



 The kind email I received below is from Santhi and his wife. The picture above is the first time I met them both at the Neiska Awards and presented them with Cycling4Diversity shirts. Wonderful experience.


Dear Ken

I appreciate you sending me an email. I admire all the work that you do to promote diversity and multiculturalism. I do appreciate and recognize your contributions in this field. I read your blogs regularly and I feel the work that you are doing, especially through Cycling4Diversity, is the need of the hour. That is a real community partnership your are strengthening through your proactive engagement. Your nomination to the Provincial Nesika Awards is an honor to the awards.

I wish you all the best and I hope to meet with you whenever the awards event takes place soon.

Best,
Santhi Rathinakumar

Uncle Moe Herar's Cycling4Diversity notes, he left for me at the hotel in 2013. He will be deeply missed.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Diversity defined by how we treat others around us


HERAR: Diversity defined by how we treat others

  - News file photo
— image credit: News file photo
I was told by someone recently, as one who promotes diversity in the community, why is that I cannot speak my heritage Punjabi language.
I was taken back by this comment and to clarify the situation, I am more than capable of understanding Punjabi when someone is speaking it to me, but have more difficulty translating it back in a fluent manner.
I come from a generation of South Asian Canadians who did not have Punjabi spoken at home or at school, which makes it extremely difficult learning it later in life. I love my language of heritage and is something I am pursuing to master. Also, when it comes to my name, I prefer being called Ken or by my real Punjabi name Kulwinder.
But, does that make me less of a diverse person? Absolutely not. Speaking one or several languages doesn’t completely define you as a diverse person. So what makes an individual diverse? It comes down to one common factor which is how we treat others around us, not just how many countries one has visited or how many ethnic foods we have tasted. The language of love is one of the strongest signs of diversity. A person with a open heart and mind is how diversity should be adequately measured.
Diversity is not a puzzle or maze and there is no simple equation because each and everyone of us is at various stages of learning about diversity.
Anne-Marie Sjoden of Abbotsford said: "I love to volunteer in the community and meet so many kind people from all over world. I am always surprised to hear when someone makes racist remarks. Recently, I heard someone refer to an individual's head covering in a demeaning way. I don't see colour, it doesn't matter to me if you're black, white or brown. You're my friend because of who you are, it's that simple.”
Last month, Judy Johnson of Abbotsford visited Africa as part of a local grandmothers group called Abbotsford Gogos. She said: “I was privileged to be one of a group of 22 Canadian grandmothers of the Stephen Lewis Foundation Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign, who visited African grandmothers and the grassroots organizations that support them in Ethiopia, Rwanda and South Africa. It was an amazing opportunity to see the work that the grandmothers and the organizations are doing in the face of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which is having such an impact on African countries.
“Grandmothers are becoming the experts in their communities, working to support their grandchildren and other orphans, providing home care and support to those affected by the disease and advocating for women's rights and fair treatment.
"At a time of their lives when they had hoped to be taking it easy they are stepping up to fill the gaps left as their children have died.”
As part of her commitment to this trip, Johnson is sharing her stories of the grandmothers, she encountered. If you’re interested in learning more about their work in Africa, feel free to contact her at 604-556-3919.
Ken Herar writes on diversity issues for the Abbotsford News.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Cycling4Diversity refects their thoughts with the Vancouver Sun

B.C. cyclists spin diversity message

 

Cycling4Diversity group encourages people to form social connections outside their culture

 
 
 
B.C. cyclists spin diversity message
 

Members of the Cycling4Diversity team, from left, Anoop Tatlay, Sukhmeet Singh Sachal, Bill MacGregor, Preet Rai, Aaron Levy, Terry Stobbart, Kulwinder Singh Dhillon, Harpreet Singh, Rick Lucy, Lindz Marsh, founder Ken Herar, and co-founder Sarina Di Martino Derksen.

When Ken Herar was growing up in Mission, his mother encouraged him to play not only with kids in his own South Asian community but with those from all ethnic backgrounds.
Now, when he walks down the streets of Abbotsford where he works, his head turns and he does a double take if he sees a white person walking with a South Asian. He senses the cultural divides have grown into vast chasms since his childhood.
The breaking point came for the Safeway clerk in 2011 when he was told he couldn’t attend a Christmas party in Surrey because of his race, and he decided he had to take action.
Herar founded Cycling4Diversity, a group that is putting a positive spin on ethnic harmony. Cycling seemed to be a good fit because it is wholesome, fun and has everyone propelling forward, he said. It is also a practical means of getting around, which became necessary in May when the group of about a dozen volunteer cyclists of mixed ethnicities travelled from Victoria to Abbotsford, visiting 14 cities and 27 schools to spread the gospel of inclusiveness.
The group hasn’t stopped there. On Wednesday, they spoke to inmates at Kwikwexwelhp Healing Village in Harrison Mills. The message resonates with its population of aboriginal men who often feel on the fringes of society.
The Cycling4Diversity group includes Abbotsford deputy police chief Rick Lucy; former local school principal Bill MacGregor; former NDP candidate Preet Rai; Kulwinder Singh Dhillon, who rides a motorcycle with the group; and Harpreet Singh, who has his own television show on Omni.
Herar says he can understand why race barriers have grown since he was a child. Back then, in the late 1970s and 1980s, the South Asian community in the Lower Mainland was rather small so it participated in mainstream activities, having no other alternatives. Now South Asians have their own businesses, newspapers and sports teams, a trend Herar says fosters ethnic solitude.
“(People) are too busy belonging to their own communities and ethnic groups,” said Herar, who writes a column on cultural diversity for the Abbotsford Mission Times. “It takes away from mainstream activities.”
Herar says he can understand why parents want their kids to grow up with an understanding of their ethnic and cultural roots, but he wants them to broaden their vision.
“There’s nothing wrong with being proud of your culture and heritage, but I think that we need to look at the long-term goals here. How are we going to live with each other and become a community?”
Herar wants both children and adults to become socially connected with people from other cultures.
“Talk to somebody outside your own culture. Invite them to your home. Do something with them. Whether it is in your neighbourhoods, your homes, your schools, your work places, do something that you feel would be a great way of reaching out to people. That’s what diversity is about.”
Herar says that if the Lower Mainland is to become a crucible of cultural harmony, he feels that people need to deepen their understanding of diversity.
“Diversity is more than having a festival. Diversity if about living it each and every day.”

Monday, March 3, 2014

Locals making a difference at home and abroad

COLUMN: Locals make a difference at home and abroad

On the Spot by Ken Herar
Many locals are making their mark around the globe and at home.
Former Abbotsford mayor and longtime high school principal George Peary recently returned from India on Dec. 12 where he was teaching at the University of the Fraser Valley for four months.
This was Peary’s second trip to Chandigarh, the capital city of Punjab, which is located in northern India. He and his wife Silvia first visited UFV Chandigarh in the fall of 2012, where he taught first- and fourth-year business classes. While being provided all the luxuries of a visiting professor: driver, car, cook and accommodations  – a busy schedule was maintained teaching six days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“India is colourful, vibrant and the food is spectacular, but the people make India. We were welcomed and treated royally,” said Peary.
During his stay, he and his wife had the opportunity to visit the Taj Mahal, Golden Temple and travel to the cities of  Jaipur, Shimla and Goa.
When Peary returned to Canada, he was approached by Shav Brar from the board of the Dasmesh Punjabi School in Abbotsford.
They offered him the principalship of the school for six months. It was an offer that he couldn’t refuse.
“I love it and it’s a remarkable school. It’s the first time I have been a principal of an elementary school in my career. I am even taller than a few of my students,” said Peary. To view pictures from Peary’s journey, visit Chandigarhchaat.blogspot.ca
* Two Abbotsford women are seeing your support to help children in need.
Kim Lee, founder of Imani Orphan Care Foundation, and Amanda Rauh of Watoto, Rescue, Raise Rebuild Foundation, are travelling to Kenya and Uganda this spring.
Lee noted, “We are a Canadian non-profit organization that supports children in need in two orphanages in Kenya. These precious children were abandoned by their families, orphaned, or rescued from an unhealthy situation. We support them with donations and sponsorships to help pay for their food, education, health care, and spiritual instruction.”
Imani’s goal is to help offer these disadvantaged children the opportunity to gain tools, skills, and knowledge, so that they can create better futures for themselves.
“... you’ll make a difference in the life of a child in need in Kenya. The funds will be used for the ongoing care of all the kids that spend their childhood living there,” said Lee.
To sponsor a child or find out more, visit: www.imaniorphancare.com
* At home, Bridges of Faith recently commemorated a United Nations interfaith initiative with three tours of place of worship, a major dialogue event, and other community-building events in January and February in Abbotsford.
“This group maintains the world view  that it is okay that people have different beliefs, and that we can respectfully and lovingly contribute to the community in our own way,” said  Rudolf Dutoit of Abbotsford Community Services.Support Bridges of Faith by joining an interfaith event, or partner in interfaith work: rudolf.dutoit@abbotsfordcommunityservices.com or 604 859 7681 ext 270.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Naranjan Grewall celebrates 60 years as first South Asian mayor in Canada

Grewall first Indo-Canadian to hold office of  mayor in Canada

Mission has always had a vibrant Indo-Canadian community, and I have been very fortunate to call this my home. I have always been interested in local history and have long been fascinated by the story of former mayor of Mission City, Naranjan Grewall. It’s actually 60 years ago that he was appointed as mayor, making him the first Indo-Canadian in Canada to hold such a political office.
Four years earlier, he was elected to city council, making him the first visible minority and Indo-Canadian elected to public office in this country. He was later nominated as a provincial candidate for the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) in 1956, making him also the first visible minority to run as a candidate in Canada. He was narrowly defeated by Socred Labour Minister Lyle Wicks.
It was not his candidacy that inspired me; it was his commitment to changing how government does business in this province, paving the way for future generations. And one of those legacies he left behind was the Mission Tree Farm. In 1958, Mission was the first municipality to be given responsibility to monitor their own forest called Tree Farm License #26.
The District of Mission has managed this resource since 1958 and it is often cited as an excellent example of how a locally managed forest can provide benefits to the community. Since 1990, surplus revenues have provided approximately $5 million to capital projects.
The incident between former B.C. premier WAC Bennett and Grewall demonstrated how fierce political battles were fought in B.C. and could have been one of the deciding factors of granting the tree farm.
During the much-heated 1956 provincial election, Grewall, as a CCF candidate, commonly addressed the issues of taxes, bridges, farmers and the forestry industry, which he claimed were being "monopolized" by a handful of large companies in the province.
Grewall referred to these stakeholders as "timber maharajahs," and said the system would revert to a "form of feudalism, which I left 30 years ago."
He spoke passionately before the provincial cabinet and testified at the Sloan Commission on behalf of small logging operators in B.C.
Just before election day, the premier spoke in Mission City, which was supposed to be the last leg of the long summer campaign. During Bennett's Social Credit address, many of the uninvited CCF supporters gathered and heckled him from inside and outside the hall, making it one of the most memorable moments in B.C. political history.
Bennett spoke for more than two hours and amplifiers carried his voice to the crowd and those unable to squeeze into the hall.
During the first half of his speech, the premier's smile was well in evidence as he jibed back at his hecklers. Bennett showed no fear of his hecklers, combining humour and charisma to fight them. At one point he even called out: "I just love hecklers."
When Bennett announced there would be no debt by 1962, a heckler cried out: "You won't be here in 1962!"
The premier shot back: "I'll be here in '82!"
Bennett said efforts were made to get the Mission High School auditorium for the meeting, but it was not available, "which shows that schools are not owned by the government and I am not a dictator."
At this point a voice was heard shouting out "baloney." The heckler was CCF candidate Grewall, who proceeded to enter the hall and began to seat himself on the stage, "to the accomplishment of mixed cheers and catcalls."
The premier continued his speech, as many cried out to hear Grewall speak. Bennett said that the CCF and Liberals could rent their own hall if they wished to address the gathering.
I spoke with former premier Dave Barrett in 2003 and recalled hearing many incredible stories about Grewall, when he first arrived in Canada in 1957.
Barrett said during the interview: "He was an icon, I didn't think I had a chance of getting elected in his riding. He lost the election, but won the hearts of many."
When Barrett became premier in 1972, he was invited to the Sikh Temple in Vancouver and was presented with a ceremonial sword.
As he received the sword, he told the audience: "This isn't for me, this is for Naranjan Grewall. He is our true hero."
Barrett and Grewall never met, but he started his political career in Grewall's former riding of Dewdney, when he first got elected to the B.C. legislature in 1960.
When Grewall was nominated as a candidate for the CCF party in the Dewdney riding in 1956, this drew excitement. But, according to Barrett, Grewall faced open discrimination on the campaign trail.
"The former mayor knew the risk he was taking and many people were surprised he took this risk to enter the race," said Barrett.
Barrett said Grewall overcame many racial insults along the way.
"Every kid in the North Fraser, who thinks he or she is being discriminated against, should read the Grewall story and the challenges he faced."
Grewall was later found dead in a Seattle motel room with a gunshot wound to the head in July of 1957. He was 47 years of age.
Ken Herar writes monthly for the Abbotsford News on diversity issues.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Homes evacuated along Herar Lane

UPATED: Homes evacuated along Mission's Herar Lane

Herar Lane residents evacuated from their homes Tuesday afternoon following a natural gas leak fire were allowed to return shortly after 11:30 p.m.
Earlier in the day, an energized power line detached from the pole and fell on top of a stop sign at the intersection of Stave Lake Street and Parr Avenue, said Deputy Fire Chief Larry Watkinson.
The stop sign was buried deeply enough that it touched the six-inch steel gas main, and ruptured it, causing a fire to start, said Fortis BC spokesperson Michael Allison.
Stave Lake Street between Best and Cherry Avenues was closed for hours, and Fortis requested all homes on the east side of Herar Lane be evacuated shortly before 5 p.m.
Mission’s emergency operations centre at fire station one was activated to help deal with the evacuation, and Mission’s Emergency Social Services volunteers were set up at the Leisure Centre to aid evacuees.
Gloria Danielson and her husband Jack have lived on Herar Lane for 13 years, and around 1:40 p.m., they noticed a strong smell of gas outside and soon saw the BC Hydro and Fortis trucks arrive on Stave Lake Street.
At first the couple assumed someone had crashed into the electrical box in the road curve, but a few hours later, a Mission firefighter was at their door telling them they had to leave the home. They stayed at her sister’s until the all clear was given.
Allison said said special equipment had to be brought in from Coquitlam to stop the flow of gas, and once that was brought under control, repair work began.
The incident caused a power outage which affected 3,300 customers at the peak. Power was restored around 7 p.m.