Recognizing Filipino Heritage Month
Letter to the Editor
June is Filipino Heritage Month in Canada, a time to recognize and celebrate one of the fastest-growing communities in our country.
Filipinos have a long history in British Columbia dating back to the 1880s, when a small community lived on Bowen Island. Today, more than 150,000 Filipinos call the province home.
The pandemic has challenged British Columbians in many ways over the past year, particularly those who work in the child care and health-care sector, caring for the elderly and those who are unwell, while raising and inspiring our younger generations. We are grateful to the many Filipinos working in these sectors for their dedication and selflessness as they have worked on the frontlines to keep fellow British Columbians safe.
Filipinos are breaking barriers in the tech industry, leading consultancy firms that are tackling equity, diversity and inclusion, and showing their commitment to social justice through advocacy work. All are making a significant contribution to this province.
The past year has not been easy for Filipinos living in B.C., with a notable increase in anti-Asian racism in our province. Vancouver alone has seen a 700% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in the past year. It is absolutely unacceptable behaviour.
We stand alongside everyone who has faced – and continues to face – racism. That’s why government is committed to introducing B.C.’s first anti-racism act, as well as legislation to support race-based data collection.
The B.C. government has recently provided funding to Damayan BC to support its work in addressing the impact of anti-Asian racism on Filipino migrant workers and building relationships between the community and other marginalized groups.
But we know more must be done. We are calling on all British Columbians to stand together against racism, and to take time this month to learn about the culture and traditions of the Filipino community that contributes so much to the diversity of this province.
Rachna Singh, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives, and
Mable Elmore, MLA for Vancouver-Kensington