Cyclists to spread message of cultural diversity from Victoria to Abbotsford

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

Victoria to Abbotsford

For the third year in a row, the Cycling 4 Diversity team will head out, making 27 stops to chat with school and university students from Victoria to Abbotsford. John van Putten/Postmedia News

Armed with a bicycle and positive message, Mission’s Ken Herar is hoping to connect communities across the Lower Mainland.

For the third year in a row, Herar, along with 10 other riders, are rolling out Cycling 4 Diversity on Sunday, making 27 stops to chat with school and university students from Victoria to Abbotsford.

“We need to work harder at our diversity,” said Herar. “Racism is still very much alive and well.

“Racism hasn’t changed, it’s just how it is conducted and how it’s delivered now.”

And for Herar, it exists through a lack of diverse communities.

“Nationalities seem to stick together more and it’s getting stronger,” he said. “I don’t see different nationalities walking together … young kids don’t have any white friends and they’re not mixing with one another.

“We see a cultural divide happening in our neighbourhoods, in our schools, in our workplaces.”

So instead of building these “silos,” Herar and his team are cycling through the Lower Mainland promoting his message of diversity.

“If we’re going to live in one country we should try to all live together — not live separately,” he said. “Let’s be proud of our culture, proud of our religion, but let’s not forget we need to also have intercultural dialogue with other people as well.”

“Let’s not forget that we have neighbours that may be from a different nationality, that we should also invite them into our homes, their kids should play with your kids.”

And while Herar believes some communities are aware of the segragation they build, he hasn’t seen any change.

“(So) we have to kind of talk about it, build that awareness, see some change,” he said. “Especially new immigrants … we should encourage them to reach out and feel welcome not just to feel comfortable in their own community but reach out and build those resources outside the community as well.

“Diversity is not just about celebrating your own culture, it’s about actually learning about other people’s cultures, too.

“It’s a simple message but a very important message.”

lcahute@theprovince.com
twitter.com/larissacahute

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