Asian Heritage Month has been celebrated across Canada since the 1990s and was officially recognized by the federal government in May 2002. Every year at this time, CUPE celebrates the contributions that members of Asian communities have made to Canada.
We acknowledge and honour the activism of people of Asian descent in their fight for human rights and social justice. Their ongoing struggles against multiple forms of oppression have been instrumental in strengthening our labour movement and our communities.
Some of those struggles included resistance against the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Head Tax; the denial of the right to vote or to run for public office; the exploitation of Chinese railway workers; the internment of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War; and the Komagata Maru incident which led to challenges to the federal government’s racist “continuous journey regulation.” These struggles are historical, but anti-Asian racism is still present today.
For Asian Heritage Month, we encourage members to build on these past struggles and take action against discrimination and oppression today.