Celebrating Asian Heritage

Apr 30, 2024

Each year throughout the month of May we are invited to celebrate the rich contributions of Asian communities to Canada’s cultural tapestry, Asian Heritage Month also serves as a reminder of the work that remains to address ongoing discrimination and racism faced by people of Asian descent.

By recognizing the diverse cultures, traditions, and achievements of people of Asian descent, we reinforce the principle that all individuals deserve respect, dignity, and equality regardless of their background. This celebration encourages inclusivity and fosters a sense of belonging among Asian Canadians, thereby promoting a society built on mutual respect and understanding.

Asian Heritage Month shines light on the historic and ongoing issues of discrimination and racism faced by Asian communities. Throughout history, Asian people in Canada have endured systemic barriers, such as the Chinese Head Tax, the internment of Japanese Canadians during World War II, the Komagata Maru incident and more recent incidents anti-Asian hate crimes. Today, Asian Canadians continue to face prejudice and stereotypes, as evidenced by incidents of racial profiling, microaggressions, and hate crimes.

Asian Heritage Month prompts important conversations about racism and discrimination in Canadian society. It encourages individuals to confront bias and prejudice, fostering empathy and solidarity across communities. Through education and awareness, we can work towards creating a more inclusive and equitable society where everyone can thrive regardless of their racial or ethnic background.

In celebrating Asian Heritage Month, Canadians are invited to appreciate the diverse cultures, histories, and contributions of Asian communities to the fabric of our nation. By recognizing and honoring the achievements of Asian Canadians, we reaffirm our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Asian Heritage Month serves as a reminder that we are stronger when we embrace our differences and strive for a society where everyone is valued and respected.

Cheryl Knockwood is the Chair of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission. She is a lawyer and currently works for the Membertou First Nation as its governance coordinator. She has taught Aboriginal and Treaty Rights at Cape Breton University.

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