Today marks the beginning of Asian Heritage Month, and this year we are celebrating with the theme “Stories of Determination” that represents the strides made and the challenges overcome by Asian communities to thrive in Canada over the last two centuries and beyond. The history of the communities here in our country is filled with hardships and setbacks, but ultimately, it is a story of triumph over adversity.
This month gives us the opportunity to acknowledge the many achievements and contributions the Asian communities have made to the fabric of our society. It is a time for us to acknowledge their impact and honour their resilience, hard work and dedication in enriching our diverse society.
2023 marks the 21st anniversary since the Government of Canada officially declared May as Asian Heritage Month. This year we also mark an important milestone, the 100th anniversary of the repeal of the Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion Act, which serves as a reminder for us to confront the realities of anti-Asian hate and discrimination that still persists within Canada even decades later.
Hate has no place in Canada. In recent years, there has been a frightening rise of anti-Asian discrimination and hate fuelled violence against Asian communities. We have to continue our collective efforts to condemn, denounce and combat racial discrimination in all its forms, whenever and wherever it occurs.
The Government of Canada is committed to combatting all forms of racism, including anti-Asian racism, and is taking concrete actions to safeguard the rights and well-being of Asian communities here in Canada by developing Canada’s Action Plan on Combatting Hate and Canada’s new Anti-Racism Strategy. These policies are being developed through community consultations that are centered on the lived experiences of communities affected by hate and discrimination in our country.
As Minister of Housing and Diversity and Inclusion, I encourage all Canadians to join in on the events happening from coast to coast to coast celebrating the Asian communities as we continue to build a safer and more inclusive Canada where everyone can thrive and succeed.