Community Papers

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.

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