Celebrate Asian culture and take action against racism during Asian Heritage Month
May is Asian Heritage Month, a time to celebrate the culture and history of the Asian community, and its many contributions to Calgary’s diversity. There are many ways for Calgarians to experience Asian culture this month, including attending a festival or learning event, supporting Asian-owned restaurants and businesses, and exploring a cultural neighbourhood in Calgary such as Chinatown or International Avenue.
“Asian Heritage Month is so important for the growth of our city to become inclusive and diverse,” says Alice Lam, community leader with I Love YYC Chinatown, an organization dedicated to community service and achieving positive change while celebrating Asian culture.
“Alberta’s first Asian immigrants from the 1800s were Sikh farmers and Chinese railroad workers who risked economic security, endured systemic racism, and lived long distances from their loved ones in order to build a brighter future for the next generation in Calgary,” says Lam. “Today we get to enjoy the fruits of their labour and are a better and stronger city due to the continued contributions of Asian communities in our city.”
As we recognize the many ways that Calgarians of Asian heritage make our city more vibrant – from the arts and science, to sport, business and government – we also know that in recent years Calgary has seen an increase of racism and violence towards Asian residents and communities. Earlier today, Mayor Gondek proclaimed a day of action against anti-Asian racism.
Today’s proclamation is a reminder that citizens can play a part in preventing such acts from taking place so that Calgary is an inclusive and safe city for everyone. There are many ways to combat anti-Asian racism, including learning more about Asian diversity, challenging stereotypes, and calling out acts of discrimination and micro aggression.
“It is my understanding that one of the best ways to reduce racial bias is through conversation so this May, I invite everyone to hold space and reflect with me,” says Ward 7 Councillor Terry Wong.
“I will be celebrating Asian Heritage Month by sharing more about my favourite Asian restaurants in Calgary, engaging with Asian-owned local businesses, learning something new about Calgary’s history and committing to learning more about how to be a better ally for all marginalized communities in our city. I hope that Calgarians will join me in a commitment to building a more inclusive Calgary for all.”
Asian Heritage Month Information
For a list of Asian Heritage Month events in Calgary, visit asianheritageyyc.ca
To learn more about anti-Asian racism, check out Against the Tides of Racism Podcast (againstracismpodcast.com) by Dr. Gina Ko, a psychologist and post-secondary instructor based in Calgary.
Designated in 2002 by the Government of Canada, Asian Heritage Month is a time to reflect on and recognize the many contributions that Canadians of Asian heritage have made and continue to make to Canada.
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