2022 Canada Day
July 1st, Canada Day, is a time for celebration for many genuine reasons – and for me personally, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as a deep love for my country and fellow Canadians, are noteworthy reasons. However, in equal measure national pride I also spend this day in quiet reflection about Canada’s wholistic history and my own journey on the path to Reconciliation with First Nations and Indigenous peoples. In solidarity and empathy with fellow racialized Canadians, July 1st is also day of mourning and learning.
At the invitation of the Calgary Kaiping Association and Toronto Foundation to Commemorate the Chinese Railway Workers, I had the opportunity to start Saturday morning off with various community leaders at Sien Lok Park and take a moment of silence to reflect on less widely known atrocities of our nation’s dark past: the Residential School System which did not close until 1996, the expulsion of Japanese Canadians in the 1940s, Canada’s participation in the transatlantic slave trade, and anti-Black policies that continue to affect communities in the present day. Lastly, Humiliation Day, the day Canada enacted the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1923.
At this event, guests laid wreaths in recognition that this country could not be the prosperous place that current generations benefit from without the sacrifices of Chinese Canadians in the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway; a critical foundational piece of infrastructure that contemporary cities nationwide still build their futures upon – railroad construction which displaced Indigenous communities and exploited Chinese settlers. We were reminded that Canadians must not forget our history and we must continue to advocate for underserved communities.
Following this event, I was able to visit seniors at Clover Living, an independent living facility, as well as join in festivities at the Chinese Cultural Centre, East Village Neighbourhood Association Street Fair, Fort Calgary, and in the Bridgeland community. It was heartwarming to see so many people with a deep interest in honoring and celebrating community spirit. The past two years have been filled with a need for physical distancing and enhanced safety precautions due to the pandemic, so I was truly touched to see our streets alive once again with the diversity and friendliness that I know Calgary to be.
Categories: Updates, Ward 7