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