May is Asian Heritage Month, a dedicated period of time to celebrate Asian Canadians, Asian and Pacific Islanders / Pacific Americans and Asians around the world.
Asian Heritage Month is also a time to spotlight the rise in anti-Asian racism and commit to call it out and work towards ending race-based violence.
Of course, these are all things we can and should be doing year-round, but it’s important that there are focused, and officially recognized (mainstream) periods of time where these types of actions and important conversations are thrust into the forefront.
If you’re looking for tangible ways to mark Asian Heritage Month, this or any year, use my checklist below, or do whatever you decide best fits for you to celebrate the Asian community and commit to ending racism and race-based hate and violence in all of its forms—this month and beyond.
A Few Ways to Celebrate Asian Heritage Month (May):
Do these actions with me each May!
- Try an Asian restaurant you’ve never tried before
- Revisit an Asian restaurant you haven’t been to in awhile
- Follow, engage, amplify an Asian content creator
- Follow, engage, amplify an Asian-owned local business
- Read a book from an Asian author
- Learn something new about an Asian community
- Watch a TV show or movie starring Asian actors
- Listen to music from an Asian musical act (like my favourite—BTS!)
- Read and understand more about the rise in anti-Asian racism that’s been occurring over the last few years
- Learn about the racism, bias, and stereotypes Asian people have always faced and reflect on whether you’ve perpetuated that racism, bias, or stereotype
- Commit to calling out anti-Asian racism and violence (but also—all race based hate)
- Donate to support organizations fighting racism (#StopRaceBasedHate)
- Find and attend a rally against anti-Asian racism or an Asian Heritage Month event
For 2022, I’ll also update this post to share a few local (Edmonton area) Asian Heritage Month events, activities or projects you can consider supporting:
We created 10 statements / designs on four colours (black, grey, yellow, and pink), meant to celebrate Asian culture and heritage while also pushing back against anti-Asian racism.
In May 2022, 20% of proceeds from sales of this collection will be donated to Represent Asian Project, a Canadian platform I love that is dedicated to celebrating, advocating and elevating Asian representation and voices in media and beyond.
- Purchase an Asian Heritage Month Lotus Necklace from Paris Jewellers, with 100% proceeds supporting Asian Solidarity Fund and Stop AAPI Hate.
Paris Jewellers, a well-known name in the Canadian jewelry industry, and headquartered / founded in Edmonton, is co-owned by a family of Vietnamese, immigrant women.
For Asian Heritage Month (May 2022) they created a special lotus necklace as a gift to their mother (lotus is the national flower of Vietnam), and as a way to raise money to support initiatives fighting anti-Asian racism.
- Shop the May 2022 Lotus Necklace
- If you’re reading this during a later year, check what the current charitable piece is!
- Learn more about the family behind Paris Jewellers
- Learn more about the Asian Solidarity Fund
- Learn more about Stop AAPI Hate
Participate in the Asian Gold Ribbon campaign (Asian Gold Ribbon Day)
The Asian Gold Ribbon campaign, founded in Edmonton, urges individuals, organizations, and communities to demonstrate visible solidarity against anti-Asian racism and to recognize its profound psychological impact, while raising money for Asian Mental Health initiatives.
In correspondence with Asian Heritage Month, Asian and non-Asian persons around the world will wear AGR lapel pins and gold ribbons throughout the month of May to signify hope, unity, and solidarity for a better tomorrow.
In 2022, Asian Gold Ribbon Yeti mugs are also being sold to raise awareness for Asian Mental Health initiatives.
Asian Gold Ribbon Day will take place on Friday, May 20, 2022 when participants are encouraged to join the visibility campaign by posting a photo/selfie and tagging @asiangoldribbon along with using the hashtag #asiangoldribbon while wearing AGR memorabilia.
Participants are invited to host Asian Gold Ribbon Day dinners, as well as attend a Youth Mental Health Summit and Women’s Mental Health Summit.
Use and share the Stop Race Based Hate anti-racism education tool
Stop Race Based Hate, the anti-racism education tool I co-founded with my friends Jessie Cayabo and Carmen Cheng, in partnership with Kick Point digital marketing agency, is a great tool and resource to use as you commit to calling out racism.
Go through the different racist statements, familiarize yourself with the explanations of why statements are racist and how you might call this out in your everyday life, work through the Critical Response Template, check out other anti-racist resources listed on the website.
If you think your company or organization could benefit from anti-racism training, invite someone from Stop Race Based Hate to present to your group.
Attend your local National Day of Action Against Anti-Asian Racism
In Edmonton, the Chinatown Transformation Collaborative in partnership with the City of Edmonton, Edmonton Heritage Council, Canadian Multicultural Education Foundation, Canadian Race Relations Foundation and more partners, host an annual rally supporting the National Day of Action Against Anti-Asian Racism.
In 2022, the rally took place on May 8 to a crowd of about 60 participants (including me!) We gathered at City Hall where Councillor Anne Stevenson for Ward O-day’min and Councillor Keren Tang for Ward Karhiio officially proclaimed May 10 as the National Day of Action Against Anti-Asian Racism on behalf of Mayor Amarjeet Sohi.
Then we marched to Pacific Mall where there was an open mic for members of the community to share experiences and impacts of racism, hate and discrimination.
Stay tuned! I’m doing a collaboration with Zen Lion Design on an Asian Heritage Month collection…
I am so excited about this partnership and I can’t wait to unveil the collection! 20% of proceeds from sales of this collection will be donated to one of my favourite organizations working to uplift Asian voices, stories, and representation: Represent Asian Project.
Share your suggestions for how to mark Asian Heritage Month!
Whether it’s a book you love, businesses to support, movies, podcasts and more, leave a comment so others browsing this post might check it out too.
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