In May 2002, the Government of Canada signed a declaration to designate the month of May as Asian Heritage Month in order to celebrate the historical and continued participation and contributions of Asian Canadians to the growth and prosperity of Canada. Each year, the Asian Heritage Foundation (AHF) organizes activities to highlight the impact of Asian-Canadians’ contribution in various fields and professions.
This year, AHF ushered in Asian Heritage Month in partnership with Action Chinese Canadians Together Foundation (ACCT) and the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (Western Chapter) by hosting a luncheon on “Diversity Matters: Systems Changes to Address Multiculturalism and Inclusion” on May 4, 2018. The kick-off event for the Asian Heritage Month was generously sponsored by Der Barristers.
Kevin Okabe and Teresa Woo-Paw, Co-chairs, Board of Directors of Asian Heritage Foundation, welcomed the guest speakers and the attendees, thanking them for supporting the immensely important topic. The program focused on brief presentations by distinguished speakers representing various sectors who spoke about some key systemic changes for diversity and inclusion taking place within their organizations, and the potential community collaboration opportunities, which have helped to move the inclusion needle forward. The panelists included: Honorable Senator Yuen Pau Woo, Facilitator for the Independent Senators Group; Anne-Marie Pham, Director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF); Emiko Muraki, Director of Community Investment & Impact at the Calgary Arts Development Authority (CADA); Elizabeth Aspinall, Practice Advisor and Equity Ombudsperson at the Law Society of Alberta; and George Chahal, Ward 5 Councillor for the City of Calgary.
Close to 300 community members and other participants representing the social service sector and individual members of the society attended the event. Participants shared that they found the discussions to be a great educational opportunity to learn about organizations and professionals who are being purposeful in their conversations and actions to implement diversity and systemic approaches into their institutions. These include various sectors, such as higher education, government, companies, and non-profits in order to develop, implement, and assess best practices that aim to embed and infuse equity, diversity, multiculturalism, and inclusion into the fabric and culture of both the workplace and society.
The event was a resounding success with active participation of the attendees in conversations at their tables and networking with others present, as well as engagement on social media. AHF will continue to capture these dialogues through engagement in 2018.
From L to R: Senator Yuen Pau Woo, Elizabeth Aspinall, George Chahal, Teresa Woo-Paw, Anne-Marie Pham and Emiko Muraki.