Friday, May 29, 2015

Cyclists roll into Surrey schools with message of respect and diversity

BEAU SIMPSON / SURREY NOW 
MAY 25, 2015 02:39 PM
Cycling4 Diversity founder Ken Herar, centre, prepares to talk to a packed gymnasium at Khalsa School in Newton on Thursday. (Photo: BEAU SIMPSON)
NEWTON — Hundreds of Surrey students left school Thursday with a simple request at the top of their minds - make friends with kids from a different heritage or culture.
"If you're brown, go make friends with someone who is Caucasian or Asian," Ken Herar encouraged the packed gymnasium at Newton's Khalsa School. "Our country is going to get even more multicultural as the days go by so make sure you are connected to your community and other Canadians."
Herar is the founder of Cycling4Diversity, an eight-member team of cyclists that brought its message of respect and equality to two Surrey schools on May 21. Herar started Cycling4Diversity in 2010 after he found out he was not welcome at a certain Christmas party because he was South Asian.
Now in its fifth year, the initiative has visited about 100 schools throughout B.C. During this year's four-day tour, Cycling4Diversity brought its message to 16 schools in 11 different cities in B.C., including five in the Okanagan and two Khalsa schools in Surrey.
Cycling diversity
Students welcome team members from Cycling4Diversity to their Khalsa School in Newton on Thursday. (Photo: BEAU SIMPSON)
"They were excited to have us," said Herar. "Hopefully they can take that message and spread it into their homes and communities because we struggle with diversity in some Lower Mainland communities.
"If we're all going to live together, we have to make it work."
Anne-Marie Sjoden is Cycling4Diversity's executive director. She encouraged students to say hello to kids they might not usually talk to.
"You kids in Grade 7, maybe you could introduce yourselves to the younger kids and let them know who you are," she said. "If you see someone sitting in the corner being very shy, why don't you go over and introduce yourselves?
"Would you do that for me?" she asked the students, who replied with a resounding, "Yes!"
On Monday, after the tour wrapped up in Abbotsford, Herar told the Now that the tour's the main message resonated with students - mainly, that  regardless of our heritage and religion, we are all Canadian.
And like a true Canadian, Herar closed the interview using an analogy close to this country's heart - hockey.
"We should all have Caucasian friends, we should all have friends from different backgrounds and we should be playing hockey in the streets with all those people," he said. "It's not just East Indians vs. the white team. We're all on the same team here in Canada."
- See more at: http://www.thenownewspaper.com/community/cyclists-roll-into-surrey-schools-with-message-of-respect-and-diversity-1.1946284#sthash.G5csxWFM.dpuf

Abbotsford News & Cycling4Diversity Essay and Colouring Contest Winners

Cycling4Diversity team visits schools in Langley


Cycling4Diversity makes Simonds stop

Grade 4/5 students from Simonds Elementary greet Jaskarn Dhillon (front) and Sukhmeet Singh Sachal on Friday morning as the Cycling4Diversity group stopped by the Langley elementary school. Cycling4Diversity began in 2011 and aims to inform people about embracing cultural diversity through understanding, mutual respect and inclusion. The C4D Foundation offers opportunities for learning and discussions on the benefits of cultural diversity and the importance of eliminating racism. - Gary Ahuja/Langley Times
Grade 4/5 students from Simonds Elementary greet Jaskarn Dhillon (front) and Sukhmeet Singh Sachal on Friday morning as the Cycling4Diversity group stopped by the Langley elementary school. Cycling4Diversity began in 2011 and aims to inform people about embracing cultural diversity through understanding, mutual respect and inclusion. The C4D Foundation offers opportunities for learning and discussions on the benefits of cultural diversity and the importance of eliminating racism.
— image credit: Gary Ahuja/Langley Times
Two Langley elementary schools learned all about cultural diversity and the importance of eliminating racism on Friday morning.
After stopping by Walnut Grove's Gordon Greenwood Elementary, the Cycling4Diversity team made its way across Langley to Simonds Elementary.
The Cycling4Diversity Foundation aims to build bridges of dialogue, one city at a time,
The program, which began in 2011 and was created by Mission's Ken Herar, aims to inform people about embracing cultural diversity through understanding, mutual respect and inclusion.
The C4D Foundation offers opportunities for learning and discussions on the benefits of cultural diversity and the importance of eliminating racism.
The Cycling4Diversity Week in B.C. began May 17 and wraps up on May 23.
The group of riders was scheduled to visit between 50 and 60 schools in 11 cities.

Cycling4Diversity team visits Kelowna schools


Cycling4Diversity team celebrates what it means to be unique with Kelowna students

Students at Bankhead Elementary were given an opportunity to think about and celebrate their differences this week.
"What does diversity mean?" Ken Herar, the founder of the Cycling4Diversity Foundation asked the hundreds of Kindergarten to Grade 6 who convened in the school gymnasium when he rolled in for a presentation.
One boy's hand rose in the air, and when the mic was set in front of him, he said "we're all different."
Different, yet the same, explained Herar, noting the reason why he was there Wednesday was to get everyone one thinking about how they can build friendships to topple the social barriers that hold communities apart.
First step toward completing that mission was getting a high-fiving series of salutations underway.
"Find someone you've never talked to and have a conversation," he said, asking for older students to high five the younger ones.
After they milled about with their hands in the air and smiles across their faces, Herar said that one, simple act of communication may have made a difference.
A little gesture of friendship can sometimes be hard to find, he said, especially when differences seem so hard to bridge.
The differences that divide were something Herar became acutely aware of one year, when he tried to book tickets for a community Christmas party and was told that "no East Indians" were allowed. It was a blatant act of racism that both unsettled him and alerted him to the fact that a need for something like the  the Cycling4Diversity Foundation and corresponding bike ride were needed.
Since it began in 2011  he and his team have visited close to 100 schools, and are this year slated to make stops at between 50 and 60 more  in 11 cities.
The message doesn't just pertain to differences of a racial nature, either.
One of this year's team, Katie Van Nes, pointed out that she just never felt the same as the other kids when she was young. She was bigger, stronger and not a stereotypical girl.
"I didn't fit in, I wasn't fashionable," she told the class.
Those differences weighed her down, until she learned to use them to her advantage.
In high school she started playing rugby, and suddenly her size and power were strengths. In the years that followed she went on to play rugby for both the province as well as a New Zealand team.
Her power, she found, was in her uniqueness.
"Sports can give you the confidence to be yourself," she told the students.
May 17 to May 23 has been named Cycling4Diversity Week.
Fellow cyclists  Brad Vis and Sukhmeet Singh Sachal, as well as the foundation's executive director Anne Merie Sjoden shared similar stories on how they used their diversity to their ability their stop in Kelowna.
The public can follow the team’s travels on the foundation’s website, cycling4diversity.ca, or on Facebook under the Cycling4Diversity Foundation.
For more information contact the foundation by email at cycling4diversity@gmail.com.
Beau Simpson / Surrey Now
May 25, 2015 02:39 PM
Cycling4 Diversity founder Ken Herar, centre, prepares to talk to a packed gymnasium at Khalsa School in Newton on Thursday. (Photo: BEAU SIMPSON)
NEWTON — Hundreds of Surrey students left school Thursday with a simple request at the top of their minds - make friends with kids from a different heritage or culture.
"If you're brown, go make friends with someone who is Caucasian or Asian," Ken Herar encouraged the packed gymnasium at Newton's Khalsa School. "Our country is going to get even more multicultural as the days go by so make sure you are connected to your community and other Canadians."
Herar is the founder of Cycling4Diversity, an eight-member team of cyclists that brought its message of respect and equality to two Surrey schools on May 21. Herar started Cycling4Diversity in 2010 after he found out he was not welcome at a certain Christmas party because he was South Asian.
Now in its fifth year, the initiative has visited about 100 schools throughout B.C. During this year's four-day tour, Cycling4Diversity brought its message to 16 schools in 11 different cities in B.C., including five in the Okanagan and two Khalsa schools in Surrey.
Cycling diversity
Students welcome team members from Cycling4Diversity to their Khalsa School in Newton on Thursday. (Photo: BEAU SIMPSON)
"They were excited to have us," said Herar. "Hopefully they can take that message and spread it into their homes and communities because we struggle with diversity in some Lower Mainland communities.
"If we're all going to live together, we have to make it work."
Anne-Marie Sjoden is Cycling4Diversity's executive director. She encouraged students to say hello to kids they might not usually talk to.
"You kids in Grade 7, maybe you could introduce yourselves to the younger kids and let them know who you are," she said. "If you see someone sitting in the corner being very shy, why don't you go over and introduce yourselves?
"Would you do that for me?" she asked the students, who replied with a resounding, "Yes!"
On Monday, after the tour wrapped up in Abbotsford, Herar told the Now that the tour's the main message resonated with students - mainly, that  regardless of our heritage and religion, we are all Canadian.
And like a true Canadian, Herar closed the interview using an analogy close to this country's heart - hockey.
"We should all have Caucasian friends, we should all have friends from different backgrounds and we should be playing hockey in the streets with all those people," he said. "It's not just East Indians vs. the white team. We're all on the same team here in Canada."
bsimpson@thenownewspaper.com
- See more at: http://www.thenownewspaper.com/community/cyclists-roll-into-surrey-schools-with-message-of-respect-and-diversity-1.1946284#sthash.TtTmHd6o.dpuf

Cyclists roll into Surrey schools with message of respect and diversity

Beau Simpson / Surrey Now
May 25, 2015 02:39 PM
Cycling4 Diversity founder Ken Herar, centre, prepares to talk to a packed gymnasium at Khalsa School in Newton on Thursday. (Photo: BEAU SIMPSON)
NEWTON — Hundreds of Surrey students left school Thursday with a simple request at the top of their minds - make friends with kids from a different heritage or culture.
"If you're brown, go make friends with someone who is Caucasian or Asian," Ken Herar encouraged the packed gymnasium at Newton's Khalsa School. "Our country is going to get even more multicultural as the days go by so make sure you are connected to your community and other Canadians."
Herar is the founder of Cycling4Diversity, an eight-member team of cyclists that brought its message of respect and equality to two Surrey schools on May 21. Herar started Cycling4Diversity in 2010 after he found out he was not welcome at a certain Christmas party because he was South Asian.
Now in its fifth year, the initiative has visited about 100 schools throughout B.C. During this year's four-day tour, Cycling4Diversity brought its message to 16 schools in 11 different cities in B.C., including five in the Okanagan and two Khalsa schools in Surrey.
Cycling diversity
Students welcome team members from Cycling4Diversity to their Khalsa School in Newton on Thursday. (Photo: BEAU SIMPSON)
"They were excited to have us," said Herar. "Hopefully they can take that message and spread it into their homes and communities because we struggle with diversity in some Lower Mainland communities.
"If we're all going to live together, we have to make it work."
Anne-Marie Sjoden is Cycling4Diversity's executive director. She encouraged students to say hello to kids they might not usually talk to.
"You kids in Grade 7, maybe you could introduce yourselves to the younger kids and let them know who you are," she said. "If you see someone sitting in the corner being very shy, why don't you go over and introduce yourselves?
"Would you do that for me?" she asked the students, who replied with a resounding, "Yes!"
On Monday, after the tour wrapped up in Abbotsford, Herar told the Now that the tour's the main message resonated with students - mainly, that  regardless of our heritage and religion, we are all Canadian.
And like a true Canadian, Herar closed the interview using an analogy close to this country's heart - hockey.
"We should all have Caucasian friends, we should all have friends from different backgrounds and we should be playing hockey in the streets with all those people," he said. "It's not just East Indians vs. the white team. We're all on the same team here in Canada."
bsimpson@thenownewspaper.com

© 2015 Surrey Now
- See more at: http://www.thenownewspaper.com/community/cyclists-roll-into-surrey-schools-with-message-of-respect-and-diversity-1.1946284#sthash.icE7FBeU.dpuf

Cyclists roll into Surrey schools with message of respect and diversity

Beau Simpson / Surrey Now
May 25, 2015 02:39 PM
Cycling4 Diversity founder Ken Herar, centre, prepares to talk to a packed gymnasium at Khalsa School in Newton on Thursday. (Photo: BEAU SIMPSON)
NEWTON — Hundreds of Surrey students left school Thursday with a simple request at the top of their minds - make friends with kids from a different heritage or culture.
"If you're brown, go make friends with someone who is Caucasian or Asian," Ken Herar encouraged the packed gymnasium at Newton's Khalsa School. "Our country is going to get even more multicultural as the days go by so make sure you are connected to your community and other Canadians."
Herar is the founder of Cycling4Diversity, an eight-member team of cyclists that brought its message of respect and equality to two Surrey schools on May 21. Herar started Cycling4Diversity in 2010 after he found out he was not welcome at a certain Christmas party because he was South Asian.
Now in its fifth year, the initiative has visited about 100 schools throughout B.C. During this year's four-day tour, Cycling4Diversity brought its message to 16 schools in 11 different cities in B.C., including five in the Okanagan and two Khalsa schools in Surrey.
Cycling diversity
Students welcome team members from Cycling4Diversity to their Khalsa School in Newton on Thursday. (Photo: BEAU SIMPSON)
"They were excited to have us," said Herar. "Hopefully they can take that message and spread it into their homes and communities because we struggle with diversity in some Lower Mainland communities.
"If we're all going to live together, we have to make it work."
Anne-Marie Sjoden is Cycling4Diversity's executive director. She encouraged students to say hello to kids they might not usually talk to.
"You kids in Grade 7, maybe you could introduce yourselves to the younger kids and let them know who you are," she said. "If you see someone sitting in the corner being very shy, why don't you go over and introduce yourselves?
"Would you do that for me?" she asked the students, who replied with a resounding, "Yes!"
On Monday, after the tour wrapped up in Abbotsford, Herar told the Now that the tour's the main message resonated with students - mainly, that  regardless of our heritage and religion, we are all Canadian.
And like a true Canadian, Herar closed the interview using an analogy close to this country's heart - hockey.
"We should all have Caucasian friends, we should all have friends from different backgrounds and we should be playing hockey in the streets with all those people," he said. "It's not just East Indians vs. the white team. We're all on the same team here in Canada."
bsimpson@thenownewspaper.com

© 2015 Surrey Now
- See more at: http://www.thenownewspaper.com/community/cyclists-roll-into-surrey-schools-with-message-of-respect-and-diversity-1.1946284#sthash.icE7FBeU.dpuf

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Cycling4Diversity speaking to students in Kamloops

Cycling4Diversity teaches strength in uniqueness

Cycling4Diversity teaches strength in uniqueness

Brad Vis, Harjit Sajjan, Ken Herar, Katie Van Nes, Sukhmeet Singh Sachal and Anne-Marie Sjoden of the Cycling4Diversity Foundation arrive at Lloyd George elementary on Tuesday.
Adam Williams/KTW
“What does diversity mean?”
Ken Herar’s question is met by dozens of hands in the Lloyd George elementary gymnasium.
The answers are myriad: looking different, speaking differently.
They’re all correct, Herar says.
One student says it means being treated negatively because of you skin colour.
Unfortunately, that, too, is also correct, Herar says, before sharing the experience that led to him founding the Cycling4Diversity Foundation.
Five years ago, Herar came face to face with discrimination. He was excluded from a Christmas party because of his East Indian descent.
The experience spurred Herar to start touring the province on his bike, speaking at schools and bringing awareness to issues surrounding diversity and inclusion.
“We have to do something bigger,” Herar says. “So, I started a bike ride.”
Since his first ride in 2011, Herar and his team have visited close to 100 schools.
In this, the group’s fifth ride, Cycling4Diversity is slated to make stops at between 50 and 60 schools in 11 cities.
It is the first time the team has made the trip to the Thompson-Okanagan.
Cycling4Diversity Week, May 17 to May 23, will bring the group to Vernon, Penticton, Kelowna, Merritt and the Lower Mainland before finishing in Abbotsford.
“Racism still exists today. This is a team effort,” Herar told KTW, still catching his breath from the climb up First Avenue from city hall to Columbia Street.
“We’re showcasing that different groups can come together and work together to break down barriers.”
Herar was joined in Kamloops by four other cyclists — Brad Vis, Harjit Sajjan, Katie Van Nes and Sukhmeet Singh Sachal.
Sajjan, who is a lieutenant-colonel in the Canadian Military, talks about his experiences in other countries when addressing students around the province.
It was at a talk last year, his first with the group, that Sajjan discovered the true impact of what the group is doing.
As he was recounting his experiences in Bosnia, a pair of students mentioned they grew up in the Balkan country.
Sajjan addressed them with the country’s traditional greeting and watched them light up — transforming from timid and shy into smiling and happy.
“I realized that a shared experience can really light up a kid’s day,” he says.
Cycling4Diversity also visited South Kamloops secondary before heading out of the Tournament Capital for the rest of their journey.
“I’m here to teach the next generation of leaders what it means to be Canadian,” Sajjan told students.
“Being different is unique and being unique gives us strength.”
The public can follow the team’s travels on the foundation’s website, cycling4diversity.ca, or on Facebook under the Cycling4Diversity Foundation.
For more information contact the foundation by email at cycling4diversity@gmail.com.
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