May is Asian Heritage Month!
Asian Heritage Month is an opportunity for us to reflect on, learn more about, and celebrate the many accomplishments and contributions Asian Canadians have made to and continue to make to our society, economy, and country.
When we engage in meaningful intercultural dialogue, we are directly creating communities where all can belong and grow.
About Asian Heritage Month
Celebrations for Asian Heritage Month have taken place across Canada since the 1990s. In December 2001, Senator Vivienne Poy brought forth a motion to have Asian Heritage Month officially recognized by the Canadian Government. In May 2002, the Government of Canada signed an official declaration designating May as Asian Heritage Month.
Who is of Asian Descent?
Asia is home to many peoples and cultures:
East Asia – China, Hong Kong S.A.R., Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan
South Asia – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
Central Asia – Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan
Southeast Asia – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam
Western Asia – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Georgia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen
Addressing Anti-Asian Racism
While we celebrate the history of Asian Canadians, it is important to recognize the increase of anti-Asian racism around the world. While many stories of anti-Asian racism come out of the United States, Canada is not exempt. Anti-Asian racism is prevalent in our country and Nova Scotian communities. We have a history of anti-Asian racism dating back to the 1800s, and systemic racism has carried forward to today.
While the recent events in the United States have highlighted the reality that people of Asian descent face many forms of racism – both violently overt and implicit – it is necessary not to be lulled into a false sense of complacency. These racist acts do happen with alarming regularity close to home. According to a First National report, more than 600 instances of anti-Asian racism in Canada have been reported to elimin8hate.org and covidracism.ca since the beginning of the pandemic. We can all learn and do better to help create a society where all can truly belong and grow.