TORONTO, May 26, 2015 /CNW/ - May is dedicated to celebrating the rich history, achievements and contributions of Canadians of Asian heritage. Established in 2002, Asian Heritage Month has sparked greater appreciation for Asian culture and history, which is an important part of Canadian life. According to 2011 Census data, over 5 million people identify as having Asian origins, which includes West Central Asian and Middle Eastern, South Asian, and East and Southeast Asian.
"Asian Heritage Month means that the work of national institutions such as museums can be combined with the efforts of community champions, academics, historians, libraries and the public sector for a sustained period of time – and with knowledge comes understanding," said CRRF Executive Director, Anita Bromberg.
While Asian Heritage Month is a time for Canadians to celebrate our nation's cultural diversity, numerous reports of racism reveal that we must move beyond celebration to achieve harmonious race relations and inclusion. For instance, a quarter of British Columbians with Asian origins recently reported that they have experienced discrimination as a result of their ethnicity. Also, an anti-immigrant flyer was recently circulated in Brampton.
The CRRF Report on Canadian Values revealed that while most Canadians view multiculturalism as a positive force, they are still uncomfortable with some public expressions of religion. Clearly, as Asian Heritage Month comes to a close and we celebrate our diversity, there is still work to be done in fostering a better understanding of Canadian multiculturalism and in combatting racism.
The CRRF's 150 Stories initiative is celebrating Canada's sesquicentennial by publishing one story every week for 150 weeks. This May, we are featuring three stories in recognition of Asian Heritage Month: Sid Ikeda, Fostering unity among Japanese Canadians; Pamela Rebello, Pioneering diversity in Manitoba's arts community; and Betty Lynn, Returning Home to Canada.
This year also marked the first annual Journey to Freedom Day on April 30, commemorating the plight of the Vietnamese 'Boat People' after the fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War, and Canada's compassion for Vietnamese refugees in 1975/76.
"There are many lessons from the past and many important stories to be shared. The CRRF applauds the many initiatives that are telling the stories of all Canadians," said CRRF President Albert Lo. "For example, the extraordinary work being done by Historica Canada and the 100 Year Journey project are truly an inspiration."
SOURCE Canadian Race Relations Foundation
For further information: CRRF Executive Director: Anita Bromberg, 416-508-9033