Champion’s Message for Asian Heritage Month

May 5, 2021 -  Defence Stories

Asian Heritage Month

As we celebrate Asian Heritage Month, I’m particularly struck by this year’s theme: Recognition, Resilience, and Resolve. Each year in May, we highlight the extraordinary contributions that Canadians of Asian descent make throughout our communities. But this year in particular, it’s important for us to recognize the lived experiences of our Defence Team colleagues of Asian descent which are often marred by racism and discrimination and which require much resilience, and resolve.

As we work our way through the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re seeing an increase in hateful conduct and racism against Canadians of Asian descent. This must stop. It has no place in Canadian society or in the Defence Team. It goes against the values of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and the efforts of the anti-racism initiatives we have put in place. Misinformation is often at the heart of and fuels the stigma and even violence they have faced in the past. We must all step up, as Canadians and as a Defence Team, and become allies to stand together against all forms of racism, xenophobia, and exclusion while embracing and celebrating the invaluable contributions Canadians of Asian descent have made, and continue to make, to the Defence Team.

In the CAF, Canadians of Asian descent have served with valour in military conflicts, both global and regional. For example, despite facing systemic barriers founded on racism, Asian-Canadians persevered and volunteered to serve in both the First and Second World Wars. They demonstrated their resilience and resolve and saw action in all branches of our military.

And today, as we conduct operations here at home and abroad, CAF members of Asian descent bring new perspectives that make us stronger as a team. They serve the Forces as equal members in our mission to defend Canada, secure North America and engage in the world. And in our public service, Department of National Defence employees of Asian descent continue to contribute to our overall success through the invaluable work they do, and the dedication they show.

So, as Defence Team Champion for Visible Minorities, I would like to thank all Defence Team members of Asian descent for the dedication and resolve you show, every day, as we work together for a stronger Canada and a better world. And I invite everyone to learn more about the rich contributions Asian Canadians have made so that we can become true partners in creating a more diverse and inclusive organization.

 

Major-General Steven Whelan

Acting Chief of Military Personnel and

Acting Defence Team Champion for Visible Minorities

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