May is Asian Heritage Month in Canada.
Across Boundaries celebrates the many achievements and contributions of Canadians of Asian descent. We honour those of the various Asian diasporas that represent our staff and the communities we serve. Over the last two centuries, immigrants have journeyed to Canada from East Asia, Southern Asia, Western, Central and Southeast Asia, bringing our society a rich cultural heritage representing many languages, ethnicities, and religious traditions.
While Across Boundaries acknowledges that people of these diverse, vibrant communities have contributed to every aspect of life in Canada, we have also had to endure ever-increasing anti-Asian hate.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, certain population groups designated as “visible minorities”—most notably Chinese, Korean and Southeast Asian participants— have been subjected to an increase in the frequency of harassment or attacks based on race, ethnicity or skin colour due to misinformation and an environment of panic.
These acts of anti-Asian discrimination and xenophobia in Canada are nothing new, from the Chinese Immigration Act (Chinese Head Tax of 1885) to the internment of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War. Then we saw after the September 11th terrorist attacks in the United States, people of South, Western, and Central Asian descent were inflicted with hatred across our nation.
Across Boundaries denounces all forms of anti-Asian racism and encourages everyone to step up and be active allies. We need to be self-aware of our unconscious biases, call out all acts of bigotry and do our part to demolish all oppressive systems.
As a woman of South Asian descent, I am well aware of how resilient our communities can be. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The future depends on what we do in the present.” I have faith that we can work together today as Canadians to create the change we need in this country.