“This year’s Asian Heritage Month is an opportunity to showcase the many achievements and contributions of people of Asian heritage who, throughout our history, have done so much for our province.
“Asian Canadian cultures in B.C. include descendants from nearly 50 countries on the continent of Asia, such as the Far East, Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. This diverse group of people has been living and working in our province since Chinese workers landed in Nuu-chah-nulth territories alongside British settlers in 1788.
“Immigration picked up in the late 1800s, with people from Syria, Lebanon and Japan being some of the first arrivals. Koreans began to arrive to train as missionaries in the 1890s. South Asians came here to work in the lumber, mining and agricultural industries, and established small multicultural communities, such as Paldi on Vancouver Island. In 1858, when gold was found on the Fraser River, B.C. experienced the first major migration of Chinese people. Asian people have been part of B.C.’s fabric and development since settlers first arrived.
“In recent years, reported acts of hate against Asian communities have increased. We cannot go backward by letting discrimination and hate go unchecked. Each of us needs to do our part to dismantle the systemic racism that has made space for racist acts of violence to continue in our communities.
“Our government is doing our part to tackle racism. Within my mandate, I will work with communities to develop a strategy to combat racism against people of Asian heritage. We are building on the historic Anti-Racism Data Act brought into force last year with new, broader anti-racism legislation to be introduced in 2024. Both pieces of legislation will help make B.C. a safer, more inclusive and equitable province for everyone, regardless of ethnicity.
“Asian Heritage Month is about more than standing up and speaking out about racism. It’s also a time to celebrate the ways in which people of Asian heritage make our province so great. There is plenty to celebrate!
“I am so proud that we recently announced $250,000 for the planning and public engagement for a provincial cultural centre celebrating the Filipino community.
“In a few short months, the Chinese Canadian Museum in Vancouver’s historic Chinatown will open its doors. The Province has invested $48.5 million to bring Canada’s first museum dedicated to Chinese Canadian history to realization.
“At its heart, Asian Heritage Month is a time to remember our history and celebrate all Asian Canadians, as each continues to contribute to making B.C. a place where diversity and cultural-richness are embraced by all.”