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May is Asian Heritage Month. The annual event celebrates and acknowledges the long and rich history of Asian Canadians and their contributions to Canada in making our country the culturally diverse, compassionate and prosperous nation we know today.

Like African Heritage Month, Asian Heritage Month has its roots in the United States, where it has been observed since 1977.  Toronto was the first Canadian city to participate, in 1993, though the month was not officially declared a national observance until 2001.

Asian Heritage Month is an opportunity for each of us to reflect on how cultural diversity strengthens our nation, and to celebrate Asian cultures and the contributions of Asian Canadians to our communities. It’s an opportunity, too, to educate ourselves and to participate in various festivities that highlight Asian culture.

By celebrating Asian Heritage Month, CUPE hopes to raise awareness and to build solidarity among our members.  Such solidarity strengthens our collective fight for social and economic justice.  As our communities become more diverse, cross-cultural understanding becomes increasingly important – especially among our youth, our future leaders.

Take the opportunity to celebrate Asian Heritage Month with your family, friends, neighbours and co-workers.  Let us know what you, your local or CUPE division will be doing to honour Asian Heritage Month.  Send your stories and photographs to equality@cupe.ca.  We’ll share them on the cupe.ca website to encourage others to get involved.