Asian Heritage Month in the month of May
By Allan Cho, VAFF Executive Member
Although Asian Heritage Month’s explorASIAN festival is now officially over, its projects continue year round. Through their stories, the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society seeks to highlight the deep roots planted by members of various ethnic groups from the Asian diaspora.
On June 1, explorASIAN completed its festival with a dinner gala honouring five families: publishers Leonardo and Marilyn Cunanan, educators Aprodicio and Eleanor Laquian, entrepreneurs Joseph and Doris Lee, dentist and community volunteer Rufino and Elvira Olivar, and philanthropists Miguel and Julia Tecson. The Cunanans, Laquians, Lees, Olivars, and Tecsons received community-builder awards at a recognition dinner on Sunday (June 1) at the Pink Pearl Restaurant.
Early settlers of Filipino ancestry started arriving in Canada during the 1960s. Compared to Chinese, Japanese, and South Asians, who came in the 19th century, Filipinos and other ethnic minorities have a history that is largely untold. explorASIAN not only honoured these Canadian pioneers, but also announced its First Stories, First Families project.
Starting in 2014, the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society (which also runs the explorASIAN festival) will chronicle family journeys through the First Families, First Stories project, starting with the Filipino community. With these stories, young Canadians of Filipino heritage will learn about their forebears and perhaps gain a heightened appreciation of their identity.
Emcees of the evening, Bob Sung and Margaret Gallagher