Asian Heritage Month
Asian Heritage Month is an opportunity for us to learn more about the many achievements and contributions of Canadians of Asian heritage who, throughout our history, have done so much to make Canada the country we know and love.
The theme for Asian Heritage Month 2022 is “Continuing a Legacy of Greatness”. This month is a reminder for all Canadians to come together to combat anti-Asian racism and discrimination in all its forms.
Since the start of the COVID 19 pandemic, people of Asian descent have been targeted for harassment and violence from small minded people. It is important now more than ever to do our part to end race related stigmas of any kind.
Today we’d like to focus on a few Canadians of note:
Jagmeet Singh was born in Scarborough, Ontario to parents of Indian descent. In 2017, Jagmeet Singh became the leader of the New Democrat Party. He is the first visible minority to permanently lead a major Canadian party. Singh is also the first turban-wearing Sikh to sit as a provincial legislator in Ontario.
Kew Dock Yip
Kew Dock Yip was born in Vancouver, British Columbia. Hewould later go on to be a community leader in Toronto’s first Chinatown, and the first Canadian lawyer of Chinese heritage. He played a critical role in helping repeal the Canadian Chinese Exclusion Act in 1947 with the help of Jewish civil rights lawyer Irving Himel and other activists.
He went on to become the first lawyer of Asian heritage in Canada and in 1998, he was awarded the Law Society Medal from the Law Society of Upper Canada.
Jean Lumb was born in Nanimo, British Columbia. She was the first Chinese-Canadian woman to receive the Order of Canada for her community work. She became the unofficial spokesperson of the Chinese community in Toronto, and worked to change immigration laws in the 1950s. She may be best remembered as the energy behind the “Save Chinatown” campaigns. Lumb owned a fruit store and the Kwong Chow restaurant with her husband, Doyle. Lumb’s community work was far-reaching and earned her considerable recognition, including appointments to the Women’s College Hospital Board of Governors and to the Ontario Advisory Council on Multiculturalism.
Dr. Tak Wah Mak
Dr. Tak Wah Mak is a Chinese-Canadian medical researcher born in China. He would later move to Canada to attend the University of Alberta. Mak became a geneticist, oncologist and biochemist and is most known for his work on the genetics of immunology. His research led to immunotherapy as a means of cancer treatment. Mak has over a dozen honours, including being made an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Brian McKeever was born in Calgary, Alberta and is of Japanese heritage. McKeever is a cross country skier and a biathlete. McKeever began to lose his vision at the age of nineteen as a result of Stargardt disease. In 2010, he was the first Canadian athlete to be named to both the Paralympic and Olympic teams. In 2018, McKeever became Canada’s most decorated winter Paralympian when he finished the 2018 Pyeongchang Paralympic Games with a career total of 17 medals, including 13 gold medals. He has also been inducted to the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame.
There are endless examples of Asian-Canadians who have contributed to the fabric of Canada in one way or another. We encourage our Members to do a bit of their own reading and perhaps learn a little bit about some of the inspiring stories that are out there.
We want to wish all of our Members who are of Asian heritage a wonderful Asian Heritage Month.