Asian Heritage Month has been celebrated across Canada since the 1990s. It was officially recognized by the federal government in May 2002. CUPE recognizes and 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.
Historical struggles like the Komagata Maru incident led to challenges against the federal government’s racist “continuous journey regulation”. In current times, COVID-19 has amplified anti-Asian racism. The current pandemic has been made worse by xenophobia, increased feelings of isolation, exclusion, and hate. These struggles are historical and are not tolerable.
Asian communities have reported an increase in racism and discrimination since the beginning of the pandemic. These experiences are also layered with misogyny and sexism. According to data analyzed by the grassroots Asian community group project1907.org, women have been most impacted by the spike in anti-Asian racism in Canada, reporting 60% of incidents.
These unwelcomed and unwanted acts of violence need to stop.
For Asian Heritage Month, CUPE would like to remind members that we are here to support you through any experience of racism in your workplace, union, and community. CUPE encourages members to act against racism, discrimination, xenophobia, misogyny, sexism, and all forms of oppression today, tomorrow, and always.
- Ensure that labour legislation in Canada recognizes and protects all migrant workers through genuine labour standards such as living wages, safe and healthy working conditions, and basic human rights.
- Call on the federal government to build and promote a fair and equitable society for all through education, justice, employment, and public policy.
- Celebrate Asian Heritage Month within your local – share on social media, organize lunch-and-learns and screen videos.
- Speak out against racism and misinformation.
- Raise awareness in yourself and others. Learn about the 5 Ds for Bystander Intervention.
- Follow and join Migrant Rights Network in taking action to ensure justice for all migrant workers, including ones of Asian descent.