The country we know and love, would not be as it is today without the incredible efforts and contributions of Asian Canadians. As such, the Canadian government officially recognized May as Asian Heritage Month back in 2002. Many groups, however, have been celebrating since the 1990s.
In 2001, the province of Ontario expanded Asian Heritage Month, to Asian and South Asian Heritage Month. This distinction gives us a better opportunity to appreciate and acknowledge the diversity within the Asian diaspora.
Let us not forget Asian labourers were brought to Canada as early as the 1800s to build the Canadian Pacific Railway. South Asians have also long been a part of this country’s history, as they travelled to the Americas to build new lives for themselves and their families since the 1830s. Since then, their contributions have helped build our communities, our cities, our provinces and our country.
Our communities have been shaped with the help of our sisters and brothers of Asian and South Asian descent. This month, we must aim to learn more of their stories, and become strong allies who support diversity and acceptance. During this time of physical distancing and anxiety, this is vital to the strength and solidarity of our society. We must stand strong against discrimination, in all its forms.
As we have done in the past, CUPW is celebrating Asian and South Asian Heritage Month with a poster dedicated to our sisters and brothers of Asian and South Asian heritage. This year, the poster relates the varied roles our Asian and South Asian sisters and brothers have within our communities. From frontline workers during a pandemic, to vital workers supporting society, they are always present.
You can download and share the poster as well: https://bit.ly/2yWilsN
The colours of the poster reflect the rich cultural heritage of Asia and South Asia.
During this time of uncertainty, the brilliance of these cultures is a beacon of hope and wisdom in our troubled world. To our sisters and brothers – we see you, we appreciate you, and we thank you.