May is Asian Heritage Month. Communities throughout British Columbia and Canada celebrate and reflect on the history of Asian Canadians and their contributions to BC and Canada. Asian Heritage Month allows us to learn and understand the diversity that brought this country together.
“The history of Asian immigration in Canada can be traced back to more than one hundred and fifty years ago when Chinese workers arrived on the west coast and joined the workers to build the Pacific Railway in the mid-nineteenth century. Asian Canadians not only physically helped to build Canada, but also culturally enriched its diversity, which has become an important characteristic of Canada.”
There are many events scheduled throughout the Lower Mainland to honour Canadians of Asian heritage who have made Canada the nation we know today:
The Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society (VAHMS) will showcase the richness and diversity of artists and communities in Metro Vancouver and BC, co-presenting events that generate public awareness about Asian heritage in Canada. With 50 performances, exhibits, shows and events, there’s something to incite the curiosity of anyone including exhibitions, films, art, and more. The Vancouver City Hall will be illuminated in red to honour this month.
In Richmond, the Richmond Public Library will be offering an Asian Heritage Festival on May 14th. You can learn about the multilingual programs, collections and services, including the special collection on Chinese culture. They will also have a number of events to celebrate the diverseness of Asian cultures: Puppet Films about the famous Monkey King, Chinese Art Tutorials, Japanese Canadian Art Culture, and much more.
If you’d prefer to read about it, you can tap into the reading list offered by the Vancouver Public Library. You will find insights into Asian authors, cooking, and films. Regardless of how you choose to participate, it is important to recognize our Asian community and its integral part of our Canadian society.
This past April 22, 2018, Mayor Gregor Robertson officially apologized for historical discrimination against the city’s Chinese residents for past discrimination against citizens of Chinese descent.
Take a moment to recognize that diversity is what (figuratively and literally) built this country and is what continues to bind it. We all benefit, and we need to be strong and confident in recognizing and celebrating the character of this country.