May is Asian Heritage Month in Canada and explorASIAN in Vancouver (www.explorasian.org) will once again be offering a wide array of talent and venues for everyone in the Metro Vancouver area to enjoy. As always, members of the Japanese Canadian community will be participating at many of the venues and events. It’s been a full decade that the Canadian Government has recognized Asian Canadians’ contributions to Canada and the world. Here in Vancouver, we are blessed with our rich diversity of Asian cultures, enriching us socially, culturally, and economically. We hope that you will participate and come out to some of the events.
As part of the Asian Heritage Month in Vancouver, on May 29th at the Dodson Room, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, UBC, Vancouver, there will be a showing at 6pm of Stolen Memories and Breaking the Silence. These two films by Kagan Goh are truly worth viewing. I got to view Stolen Memories and was really touched by the story, based on Kagan’s efforts on finding the rightful owners of a family photo album, which his brother had attained at a garage sale, and the investigative efforts by Kagan Goh and Mary Seki, who played an integral part in enabling Kagan to succeed in his quest. As many of us know, prized possessions such as these photo albums were either lost or taken from Japanese Canadians just prior to being relocated from the West Coast of BC by the Custodian of Enemy Alien Property on behalf of the Canadian Government in 1942. The journey to find the rightful owners of the photo album is depicted in this film.
The film Breaking the Silence is a documentary on Akihide John Otsuji, a Japanese Canadian who was imprisoned for defying a racist law called the Dispersal Campaign. Based upon my first experience of Kagan’s work, I am sure that Breaking the Silence will be equally accurate and worth viewing.
A special event will be held on May 30th, at the Chan Centre at the University of British Columbia, bestowing Honorary Degrees on the Japanese Canadian students of 1942. UBC will acknowledge and honour Japanese Canadian students who were uprooted, confined, dispossessed and repositioned throughout Canada, as a violation of their human and citizenship rights in Canada from 1942 to 1949.
This special ceremony is open to the public, let’s fill the 1200 seats in the Theatre and show our support and appreciation for the students and their relatives. To reserve tickets, email Eilis Courtney at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will send the tickets out. For more information, photos and video, visit japanese-canadian-student-tribute.ubc.ca.
As further recognition of the injustice to these students, and so that to ensure that these students will never be forgotten, UBC will be educating future students about this period of time in history for the University and Canada by preserving this historical record in the UBC Library relating to these injustices.
The Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens’ Association is taking applications for the following summer student positions pending upon funding from Human Resources Development of Canada: Administrative Assistant and Historical Research Technical Archivist Specialist. Please submit your resumes this month to email@example.com or fax 604.777.5223.
Have a great month!