Presence, place, power: Celebrating Asian Heritage Month 2022
May is Asian Heritage Month
It is a time to celebrate the historical presence of Asian Canadian communities, their central place in nation building, and the powerful ways in which they continue to participate in Canadian society today.
However, the commemorations are once again marred by an ongoing surge of anti-Asian sentiment that has resulted in harassment, assaults, and discriminatory behaviours exhibited towards members of these diverse communities.
The Canadian Race Relations Foundation is committed to working with Asian Canadians, as well as members of the broader society, towards confronting this damaging phenomenon which has been fueled by the pandemic.
Since the beginning of COVID-19, Asian Canadians have experienced the brunt of racism and blame for the pandemic due to misinformation, stereotypes, and harmful narratives. As the pandemic’s grip on the lives of Canadians lessens somewhat, the work of mending damaged relationships and restoring trust remains as urgent as ever.
The CRRF is pleased to be supporting these efforts in several ways:
- In partnership with the National Film Board and Telefilm Canada for a virtual panel titled, “Authentic Asian-Canadian Storytelling in Film” that will feature prominent artists and hosted by multi-talented artist and filmmaker Sook-Yin Lee on May 12, 2022 3:00-4:00 PM EST. Watch now!
- As part of the CRRF-YWCA’s ongoing public awareness campaign #BlockHate, a new video highlighting the impact of online hate on an Asian Canadian woman, will be released later in May.
- Through the CRRF’s National Anti-Racism Fund which has provided financial support to the following organisations to hold Asian and Jewish Heritage Month events:
University of Alberta
Event: Hirabayashi – Anti-Racism Project*
This project aims to bring to the public awareness about the racism facing Asian Canadians, particularly since the rise of the pandemic. It offers Albertans of all ages, opportunities to engage in a play (or a recording of the play) about a human rights anti-racism leader, Dr. Gordon Hirabayashi, and to take this and other experiences and contributions of Japanese Canadians into public discourse and school curricula.
Cross Cultural Walking Tours
Event: Cross Cultural Walking Tour: Pride Edition
For Jewish and Asian Heritage Months, the Cross Cultural Walking Tours will celebrate the rich layered history of Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhoods: Chinatown, Downtown Eastside, Paureru-Gai, Jewish Strathcona and Hogan’s Alley. These tours will build awareness of the contributions of Indigenous and early immigrants then, and bridges communities and cultures around the city now.
May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, https://www.crossculturaltours.ca/annual-may-tours
Chinatown Transformation Collaborative Society
Event: Taking Back Chinatown Immersive Light Experience*
Throughout May 2022, this event will Create an immersive experience with projectors to raise public awareness of Chinese racism and discrimination in Chinatown and facilitate discussions to supplement the immersive experience to deepen understanding
Korean Social Services Centre
Event: Beyond Race: We’re All One
This free event will consist of an anti-Asian racism symposium including speeches from various East-Asian communities, as well as cultural performances (ie. traditional dance, singing, choir, martial arts, etc) from 4 Asian communities.
May 14, 2022, www.kssc-ab.ca
Asian Heritage Society of New Brunswick
Event: 20th Anniversary Celebration of Asian Heritage Month*
This month long celebration will consist of 5 main activities of: an exhibit launch, arts projects such as henna art demonstrations and Japanese puppetry, teaching of early Asian Canadian history to middle schools, a film screening on rice production, and an Asian Heritage Cultural Gala at the Bernard Poirier Theatre, Ecole Saint Anne in Fredericton.
OCCA Communities Association
Event: Expanding the Asian Heritage Month Celebrations to Addressing Systemic and Institutional Racism*
Multiple events will be organized to address the racial discrimination implied in society classification and funding policies. Specific events will invite the mayor, councillors, funding managers, MLAs, and MPs to listen to community views.
Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto
Event: Tribute to Friendship between Jewish and Asian Canadians
This unique two week art exhibition will highlight the very long history of Jews and Chinese being racialized and victimized because of their ethnic background, the positive experiences of relationship building between the two cultures of distinct characteristics, and the artists’ experience and observation of the rising sentiment and challenges of anti-Asian, anti-Semitism, and racialization in Canada.
May 25-June 8, https://www.cccgt.org/
The Chinese Canadian Military Museum Society
Event: Youths & Unsung Heroes of WWII*
This event aims to engage youths in Chinese Canadian history and the pivotal role played by their WWII veterans in expanding Canadian citizenship, and to inspire more student leaders to find ways to engage their peers, especially youth who seldom see themselves reflected in history books.
*Check websites for updated information on dates & timings.