Asian Heritage Month has been celebrated since the 1990s, but the Canadian government officially recognized May as Asian Heritage Month in 2002.
In 2001, May was also declared South Asian Heritage Month in Ontario, further evidence that the Asian diaspora is important to our society.
For South Asians, the month of May has been a time of celebration and commemoration of their arrival from the Indian subcontinent to the Americas in 1838.
This year, as we observe Asian Heritage Month, we find ourselves in the middle of a pandemic where there is an alarming increase of xenophobia, racism, and anti-Asian violence.
A recent study revealed that more than 1,100 attacks against Asian Canadians have been reported one year into the pandemic, and 11 percent of those incidents involved violent assaults or unwanted physical contact.
This is not acceptable. We must do better.