By Ken Herar
The Cycling4Diversity team will begin its 4-day journey on May 21st pedaling from Victoria and will finish the trek in Abbotsford on May 24th at The Reach Gallery Museum with an event called “Rally in the Valley for Cultural Diversity” from 6-7pm. The 3rd Annual C4D ride will be visiting 14 cities and making 27 stops along route.
An exciting schedule is planned with the team stopping at 19 schools and four of them at universities/colleges. After months and months of planning we are excited to kick off this initiative and our prepared to speak to thousands of people on topics of: cultural diversity, inclusion and racism. Looking back, I only intended to do the ride once back in 2011, but through the encouragement and vision of Co- founder Sarina Di Martino Derksen we have turned this into an annual event.
If you recall what initiated me in starting this event was when I was not allowed to attend a Christmas party in 2010 due to me being from South Asian descent. This particular incident was the final straw for me personally, but they were also emails that I received before that readers shared on how our various communities are not connected and are growing further apart.
Di Martino Derksen said, “ we are really looking forward to making our way throughout the communities visiting and speaking with all those who come out and join in with C4D in spreading the team message and celebrating cultural diversity. The support within our communities has been tremendous and we are humbled and thankful. We would like to personally thank all the sponsors that have come forward to donate and make this ride possible. ”
Cycling4Diversity began 2011 to celebrate World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development on May 21st, a day proclaimed by the United Nations. In 2012, the C4D team made 40 stops and received several proclamations from various levels of governments. Embracing cultural diversity means understanding, mutual respect, and inclusion. I often get asked if I think racism still exists today. I become extremely puzzled when I hear this thought. Actually, racism hasn’t changed and its not just a black and white issue. We are seeing it coming from all angles and unfortunately hate still exists. We all have to step up as one community and do better. One of the things I often share during Cycling4Diversity in British Columbia from May 19th- May 25th is we ask people to reflect on their prejudges and biases and see if they can be corrected and changed.
Cycling4Diversity offers opportunities for learning, dialogue and discussions on the benefits of cultural diversity and the importance of eliminating racism.
Cycling4Diversity unites multicultural communities through the sharing of personal experiences, which creates an environment of mutual trust and understanding. The C4D team works to bridge cultural communities and create dialogue, breaking down perceived barriers.
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. Some of the local team members include: Abbotsford Deputy Police Chief Rick Lucy, Abbotsford City Coun. Bill MacGregor, Anoop Tatlay, Preet Rai, Terry Stobbart ,Aaron Levy and Harold Derksen.
Please visit Cycling for Diversity 2011 on Facebook, or follow us during the ride on Cycle4Diversity on Twitter or www.cycling4diversity.ca
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 [email protected] or view his blog at http://www.kenherar.blogspot.com