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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

A ride for human rights

July 15, 2008

Former city resident cycling across Canada to raise awareness

Peterborough Examiner, Canada
July 14, 2008

Inspired by meeting the Dalai Lama, a former Peterborough resident is
cycling across Canada to raise awareness of human rights issues in Tibet.

David Kay, 28, an Adam Scott Collegiate grad and former national team
rower, left from St. John's, N. L., yesterday on a 7,700-kilometre,
44-day journey to Victoria, B. C.

He plans to pass through Peterborough on July 28.

His route along the Canada Trail will take him through 46 major urban
centres.

Kay, sponsored by the Canada Tibet Committee (CTC), is timing his ride
-- billed as the Race For Rights -- to coincide with the 2008 Beijing
Olympics.

He plans to arrive in Victoria on Aug. 24, the day of the closing
ceremonies.

The exiled Dalai Lama has long accused China of human rights violations
in Tibet.

Kay, the son of Peterborough's Wayne and Heather Kay, now lives in
Kingston, where he works at a worker's co-operative restaurant and runs
a small home-renovations business. He's also a Sunday school
co-ordinator at Kingston's Unitarian Fellowship. He also sits on various
committees, including Home Base Housing and the Kingston Environmental
Advisory Forum.

This is not the first time Kay has embarked on a lengthy cycling journey.

He rode from Peterborough to Victoria, where he attended university.

In 2000, he rode from Canada to Guatemala and back, a 14,000-km trek.

This time his ride has more purpose than simply exploring the world.

He met the Dalai Lama after hearing him speak in Ottawa last year and
was inspired.

"His message of compassion and non-violence reaches so many people," Kay
says, in a video on the CTC's website.

"It's so pure and so simple and, yet, so true.

"China made a commitment to improve its human rights record," he said.
"It's entirely questionable whether they've fulfilled that commitment."

He also felt a connection to the Olympics.

"My experience training for so long, having that Olympic dream be so
much a part of my life before I left the national team," he said, "I
think I can respect and admire what it takes to go to the Olympics and
what the Olympic dream entails."

That led to his idea for the cross-country ride.

"I felt like I was in a unique position to do what I could to support
his cause," Kay told the Kingston Whig-Standard, before departing for
St. John's.

Kay doesn't consider himself an activist.

"I'm apprehensive to be an angry activist. ... The Dalai Lama, Buddhism
and the world's religions all say the same thing: 'Tread lightly, be
non-violent,'" he said. "I'm pretty ambivalent and confused when it
comes to activism of any sort and I feel like the ride -- it's very
simple, it's very peaceful, it's low impact and I think ... the content
is the message."

Kay will travel an average of 200 km per day with just a radio and a
backpack full of supplies. He will billet, when possible, at homes of
CTC members. He will also camp and stay at an occasional hotel.

He knows the challenges he'll face, emotionally as he deals with the
isolation and physically, and his mother always worries about his
safety, but Kay looks forward to the ride. He finds it freeing and he
enjoys the silence and scenery.

"It'll be a beautiful six weeks," he told the Whig-Standard's Angela
Hickman. "It'll be isolating and challenging."

While his ride is more to raise awareness, the CTC will be collecting
funds. Some of the money will purchase kilometres of the Canada Trail to
dedicate to victims of China's human rights abuses, he said. Kay will
also dedicate each province he passes through to a victim of recent
Tibetan violence.

Pledge forms are available, and Kay's journey can be followed on the
CTC's website at www.tibet.ca/en/raceforrights
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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