Commemorating Asian Heritage Month
May is Asian Heritage Month, a time to reflect and learn more about the contributions and achievements of Canadians of Asian heritage who have done so much to make Canada the country we know and love. This month we celebrate the contributions of Asian Canadians to every facet of life – socially, economically, and politically.
Grassroots community efforts led to the first celebrations of Asian Heritage Month in the 1990s. In December 2001, the Senate of Canada adopted a motion by Senator Vivienne Poy to designate May as Asian Heritage Month and this was officially declared in May 2002.
The theme for Asian Heritage Month 2022 – Continuing a legacy of greatness – celebrates the countless Canadians of Asian heritage, both past and present, who have contributed to all aspects of our society.
The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission recognizes and honours the efforts of communities of Asian descent in protecting and advancing human rights in our province even in the face of anti-Asian racism.
In the course of Canadian history, there have been many instances of discrimination against people of Asian descent including the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Head Tax, the exploitation of Chinese railway workers, the internment of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War and the Komagata Maru incident for which Prime Minister Trudeau issued an apology in 2016. Most recently, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen anti-Asian racism escalate across the country.
The Commission reminds all Nova Scotians that it is illegal under the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act to discriminate on the basis of race, colour, ethnic, national, or Aboriginal origin. Misinformation and prejudice promoted by irrational fear or systemic discrimination endanger the rights of Nova Scotians to live free of discrimination and threaten physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
The Human Rights Commission calls on all Nova Scotians to continue to be vigilant and stand up against discrimination to ensure our collective safety and security, in particular, in the ongoing climate of polarization, fear, and tension. This month is a reminder for all Canadians to come together to combat anti-Asian racism and discrimination in all its forms.
What can you do to celebrate the month?
- Participate in events and celebrations around the province
- Organize events and share information on social media
- Speak out against racism and misinformation
- Continue to learn and raise awareness
- May is Asian Heritage Month - Canada.ca
- Asian Heritage Month celebration - YouTube
- Asian Heritage Month | Halifax Regional Municipality
- Celebrating Culture | Halifax Public Libraries
- Asian Heritage Month Poster
The preceding is a statement from Joseph Fraser, Director & CEO of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.