Cyclists roll into Surrey schools with message of respect and diversity

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

Just Posted

UPDATE: Proposal to replace Surrey Knight & Day with 25-storey highrise gets early nod

Surrey council gave the application first and second reading Monday, and a public hearing is set for Oct. 1

Syrian family can, finally, feel safe

Anglican Church of the Holy Trinity White Rock meets sponsored family for the first time

Former Surrey MP Gurmant Grewal supports Bernier’s new party

Gurmant Grewal has thrown his lot in with Maxime Bernier’s new People’s Party of Canada

Road closures as Surrey firefighters battle propane blaze

Surrey RCMP control traffic as firefighers fight fire at Pacific Propane Container Recycling

Cloverdale, Langley Thanksgiving food drive collects ‘record-breaking’ amount of food

Annual food drive collected 35,000 lbs of food for Langley Food Bank

‘Fire tornado’ erupts as firefighters battle interior B.C. wildfire

Firefighters near Vanderhoof were taken by surprise

1st private moon flight passenger to invite creative guests

The Big Falcon Rocket is scheduled to make the trip in 2023, SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced at an event Monday at its headquarters near Los Angeles.

‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Mrs. Maisel’ triumph at Emmys

In a ceremony that started out congratulating TV academy voters for the most historically diverse field of nominees yet, the early awards all went solely to whites.

Korean leaders meet in Pyongyang for potentially tough talks

South Korean President Moon Jae-in began his third summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Tuesday.

Russia blames Israel for plane shot down by Syrian missile

A Russian reconnaissance aircraft was brought down over the Mediterranean Sea as it was returning to its home base inside Syria, killing all 15 people on board.

Vancouver park board passes motion to learn Indigenous place names

The name of Vancouver’s Stanley Park is now up for debate as the city’s park board confronts its colonial past and pursues reconciliation.

Champ golfer from Spain killed in Iowa; suspect charged

Police said Celia Barquin Arozamena was found dead Monday morning at Coldwater Golf Links in Ames, about 30 miles north of Des Moines.

Abdelrazik torture lawsuit delay would be unconscionable: lawyer

The federal government is making a last-minute plea to delay the Federal Court hearing

Trudeau upset after meeting with Saskatchewan chiefs

Trudeau is upset about how time was managed in a recent meeting

Most Read