Rachna Singh, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives, has issued the following statement in honour of Asian Heritage Month:

“We recognize this Asian Heritage Month is unlike any we have celebrated in the past. From the early days of this COVID-19 pandemic, Asian Canadians have been targeted by increased hate and discrimination.

“But make no mistake. The discrimination of people of Asian descent runs deep in this province and country – from the head tax to the internment of people of Japanese descent to the violence we are seeing now. This recent increase in incidents is intrinsically tied to a long history of racism. Asian communities in this province have been fighting for equity and justice for over 150 years.

“We must always speak out against racism, and that’s why our government is taking action by introducing anti-racism legislation and legislation regarding race-based data collection. But we know more needs to be done.

“And while recognizing the past injustices and the current racism is important, I know the Asian community is not solely defined by the racism they face. We must also celebrate Asian excellence.

“Asian Heritage Month is dedicated to recognizing and deepening our understanding and appreciation of the resilience and contributions of British Columbians who trace their roots to over 30 Asian and South Asian countries.

“From Shushma Dutt and Wayson Choy, to Chan Hon Goh and David Suzuki – Asian Heritage Month is an opportunity to honour and celebrate the many inspirational individuals of Asian descent whose accomplishments have played a vital role in B.C.’s social, artistic and economic success.

“This year, there are a number of ways to participate in Asian Heritage Month virtually. Some examples include the Punjabi Legacy Project highlighting Sikh history in B.C., the virtual walking tours of Vancouver’s Chinatown presented by the Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC and virtual events offered through explorASIAN.

“I encourage everyone to take this opportunity to learn more about the diverse cultures, traditions and histories of Asian British Columbians. Now, more than ever, we need to stand together, reflect on our biases and our privileges, and demonstrate through our words and actions that we are committed to building a truly anti-racist society in this province.”