May is Asian Heritage Month. In December 2001, Senator Vivienne Poy introduced a motion in The Senate of Canada, designating May as Asian Heritage Month.
Asian Heritage Month celebrates the beauty and wisdom of the many diverse cultures originating from the vast Asian continent, including China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma, Turkey, Iran, Thailand, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, to name only a few.
Unfortunately, the history of Asian Canadians has too frequently been marred by exploitation and lack of access to basic human rights, such as the exploitation of Chinese railway workers, the internment of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War and the systemic racism still directed against Asian workers. Today, the Conservative government’s temporary foreign worker program plays a central role in the ongoing exploitation of Asian workers and the denial of human rights.
By joining in the various celebrations that mark Asian Heritage Month, CUPW members and their families throughout Canada and Quebec have a great opportunity to learn about the different Asian cultures and the history of Asian people. This not only raises awareness among our membership; it will also build solidarity among our members, to strengthen our collective fight for social and economic justice for all members of our society.
This month and every month, let the stories of our Asian sisters and brothers be told not just as an interesting curiosity but as they truly are - a vital part of our history. CUPW stands in solidarity with Asian workers and proudly celebrates Asian Heritage Month.