Opinion

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.

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