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Asian Heritage Month: Home

This month, we celebrate Asian Heritage Month and recognize the many contributions of diverse Asian communities to the rich history of Canada. As a history of both trauma and triumph, we encourage everyone to reflect on the ways in which Asian cultures, traditions, values and experiences have shaped Canada. At a time when the global pandemic has resulted in disproportionate harms for these same communities, we are mindful of the barriers that Asians continue to encounter and of our responsibility to take collective action to build a more equitable and inclusive world. Throughout the month of May, we amplify the excellence of diverse Asian individuals who have courageously taken up this responsibility and, through their own unique achievements, broken barriers that will inspire and uplift generations to come.

Learn more about Catherine Hernandez

Asian Heritage Month spotlight on Catherine Hernandez - Award-winning writer. There is a photo of Catherine Hernandez accompanied by the following text: Catherine Hernandez is a Toronto-based queer woman of Filipino, Spanish, Chinese, and Indian heritage and an award-winning writer. Her first novel, Scarborough, on the complexities of life in a low-income urban neighborhood received the Jim Wong-Chu Award and is being adapted to film. Her second novel, Crosshairs, is on CBC's Best Canadian Fiction and NBC's 20 Best LGBTQ Books of 2020. In theatre, Hernandez is also celebrated for writing the plays Singkil, The Femme Playlist and Eating with Lola, and as the Artistic Director of Sulong Theatre Company, which is dedicated to work by women of colour. Hernandez explains, "The spine of my artistic practice is teaching anti-oppression... Because of the structures that are give to us by white supremacy, it's really important for us to shake the yoke of that first in order for us to have our true selves come forward."

Learn more about Deepa Mehta

Asian Heritage Month spotlight on Deepa Mehta - Award-winning filmmaker. There is a photo of Deepa Mehta accompanied by the following text: Deepa Mehta is an award-winning, transnational filmmaker. Her work seeks to challenge stereotypes and has garnered International attention at various major film festivals around the world. She is best known for her elemental trilogy, Fire (1996), Earth (1998), and Water (2005), which feature controversial social issues in India such as arranged marriage, same-sex attraction, the partition of India, and widows living in an ashram. The latter film won three Canadian Screen Awards and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Film. In 2012, Mehta received a lifetime Artistic Achievement Award for Film from the Governor General of Candada, which was followed by her appointment in 2013 to the Order of Ontario and the Order of Canada. In 2015, she received an honorary degree from Simon Fraser University.

Learn more about Roy Miki

Asian Heritage month spolight on Roy Miki - Celebrated poet/activist/scholar. Photo of Roy Miki accompanied by the following text : Roy Miki was born in 1942 in Ste. Agathe, Manitoba where his family was interned during World War II. Motivated by his family history, Miki actively fought for redress from the federal government for the internment of Japanese people in Canada in the 1980s, resulting in a number of educational initiatives, the creation of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, and the restoration of citizenship for Canadians of Japanese origin who were deported or whose citizenship was revoked. As a celebrared poet, Miki's work addresses issues of identity, citizenship and race with his book, Surrender, earning the Governer General's Literary Award for Poetry in 2002. In 2006, he received the Gandhi Peace Award for truth, justice, human rights and non-violence in recognition of his activism while also becoming a Member of the Order of Canada (2006) and Fellow in the Royal Society of Canada (2007).

Learn more about Asian Canadians in sports

Asian Heritage month spotlight on the Chinese Students Soccer Team from 1933. There is a photo of the team with a large trophy, accompanied by the following text : Vancouver's Chinese student stoccer team won the British Columbia Mainland Cup in 1933. Formed in 1920, the team played during a time of widespread anti-Chinese hate and discrimination across Canada - reflected in head taxes levied against persons of Chinese origin entering Canada and the Chinese Immigration Act of 1923 that prohibited Chinese immigration altogether. Chinese people were also denied the right to vote, refused citizenship, excluded from professions, and prohibited from public spaces. Despite this climate, the Chinses student soccer team prevailed in winning the 1933 championship and providing a source of celebration, hope, and community among Chinese communities. The team played until 1942, with some players making history as the first Chinese person in the Royal Canadian Navy, the first Chinese person called to the Canadian bar, and the first Canadian-trained Chinese doctor.

Upcoming Events

Conversation for Social Change: Confronting Anti-Asian Racism Across Canada

Monday May 17th    10:00AM – 12:00PM

If “we’re all in this together,” why have some communities been forced to endure greater consequences as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic than others? Join us for a critical conversation about the rise and spread of anti-Asian hate during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Featuring expert guests from diverse fields, the event will situate contemporary anti-Asian hate crime and discrimination within the historical context of anti-Asian racism across Canada. Panelists will expose the historical precursors of anti-Asian hate, share recent data on anti-Asian hate crimes, and offer resources to address these issues in a higher education context.

Featured panelists:
Laura Ishiguro, Associate Professor of History, University of British Columbia
Justin Kong, Community and Labour Organizer
Stephanie Cheung, Educator, Toronto District School Board

Register here!

Challenging Anti-Asian Racism in Higher Education 

Part 1 : Thursday May 27th 1:00PM – 3:00PM
Part 2:  Thursday June 25th 1:00PM – 3:00PM

In this two-part series, participants will explore the pervasive problem of anti-Asian racism across Canada, including the spread of anti-Asian discrimination throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. From politicians’ references to “the Chinese virus” to closures of Asian businesses to the ongoing surge of targeted hate crimes against diverse Asian communities, these sessions will problematize the emergence of racial scapegoating against people of Asian descent while also situating these experiences in historical and contemporary policies and practicess of marginalization. Building upon this context, participants will consider the impacts of anti-Asian racism in educational contexts in order to co-create strategies, resources, and tools that address anti-Asian racism in the classroom, workplace and community more broadly.

Register for Part 1

Register for Part 2

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