What does Asian Heritage Month mean? It is a time to learn and reflect on the history of people of Asian descent, and their economic, cultural, and artistic contributions to our country.
Over the past 200 years, people of East Asian descent (e.g., China, Japan, Korea), South Asian descent (e.g., India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka), Southeast Asian descent (e.g., Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia), Central Asian descent (e.g., Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan) and West Asian descent (e.g., Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey) have immigrated to Canada to create a better life for themselves and their families. The history of Asian settlement in Canada, their relationships with the Indigenous peoples, the dominant White community, and each other, should teach us about how to value differences, recognize similarities, resolve issues in peace, and live together in harmony and mutual respect.
Asian Heritage month is a time of celebration but also a time for more serious discussion, learning, and taking action about social justice, colourism, racism, islamophobia, Asian hate, and the plight of refugees. Hate crimes against Chinese and people who looked Chinese increased during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Vancouver film festival launched an advocacy project in 2020, entitled Elimin8Hate to educate, empower, and eliminate hate against Asian Canadians by “advocating for social change and inclusive opportunities.”
Check out the website for information and resources here :
This year will be the twentieth anniversary of the official declaration designating the month of May as Canadian Asian Heritage Month. This was initiated through a motion made by Senator Vivienne Poy, the first Chinese Canadian appointed to the Senate. You can read more about her and other noteworthy Asian Canadians at the website below.
The Heritage Canada is website here :
The National Film Board of Canada has curated a list of films for viewers to see and share some of the lived experiences of people from diverse backgrounds, so we can open our world views and increase our understanding.
See the list of films here :
In British Columbia, the largest festivities are organized by the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society. This year, their festival of arts, culture, food, and discussion will include both in-person and virtual events. If you are in Vancouver, be sure to register to attend the in-person Opening Ceremony on April 30.
The program can be accessed here :
I will be speaking to the Saanich Rotary Club on Monday, May 9 at 6 pm PT. The topic with be about my family’s Chinese Canadian history and the early Chinese and Japanese pioneers in Victoria. Join me on-line – anyone is welcome to the Zoom presentation, just leave me a message before May 5th and I will send your email address to the organizer to be added to the evening’s invitation list.