Rachna Singh, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives, has issued the following statement in honour of Asian Heritage Month:
“This year’s Asian Heritage Month is an opportunity to honour and celebrate Asian heritage and the many contributions of people of Asian descent in B.C.
“But the shadow of COVID-19 remains, and we are continuing to see Asian Canadians face rising hatred and discrimination. This is not the first time that communities have faced racism in this province. There is a long history of systemic discrimination that has held back Asians in B.C. – from the devastating internment of thousands of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War and the discriminatory head tax on Chinese Canadians to restrictions on voting rights, inequitable pay and unworkable conditions for Canadians of Asian heritage.
“Reflecting on this history challenges us to do better. We cannot let the discrimination of the past return. Now, more than ever, we must reject white supremacy and hatred in all forms and commit to being anti-racist.
“We need to do more to dismantle the systemic racism that has held Asian and all racialized communities back for generations.
“Soon we will be introducing a new anti-racism data act to help address systemic racism. This legislation is being developed in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples and racialized communities, and will support the use of demographic data to make government programs and services work better for more people.
“Though B.C.’s Asian communities have been disproportionately affected by the rise in racism throughout the pandemic, they are not defined by that experience. Asian Heritage Month is about more than fighting racism. It is also a time to celebrate excellence and reflect on the resilience and contributions of Asian Canadians throughout the province.
“Earlier this year, the Province announced $27.5 million in funding for Canada’s first Chinese Canadian Museum in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown. The museum will be a place for Chinese Canadians to share their stories of success and struggle with the world in their own voices.
“Last month, I was honoured to be part of the launch of the South Asian Canadian Legacy Project by the South Asian Studies Institute at the University of the Fraser Valley. This online resource library offers an inspiring range of stories about the triumphs and tribulations South Asians have faced in B.C.
“For over 150 years, people from more than 30 Asian and South Asian countries have come to B.C. to start a new life, many of them playing a key role in the province’s cultural diversity and economic success.
“I encourage all British Columbians to learn more about the untold stories and numerous contributions of Asian and South Asian communities in B.C.
“When you know better, you do better, and by learning more about Asian cultures, traditions and histories, we can all help build a better, more just and inclusive society for everyone.”
For more information about Asian Heritage Month events, visit:
The Chinese Canadian Museum: https://www.chinesecanadianmuseum.ca/
The South Asian Canadian Legacy Project: https://www.southasiancanadianheritage.ca/saclp/
Virtual events and exhibitions offered by explorASIAN: https://explorasian.org/