Chinese Canadian Stories and Japanese Canadian Tribute

I was really honoured to be part of the celebration of the Chinese Canadian Stories and the Japanese Canadian Students Tribute.   Despite a frigid, rainy evening, a large number of community friends and supporters joined in the celebration at the van der Linden Dining Hall at UBC St. John’s College.   Chinese Canadian Stories was a three-year project, that finally wrapped up earlier this year in September 2012.  A number of talented UBC students under the guidance of Professor Henry Yu took part in the creation of a fantastic website, mobile kiosk, video game, and oral histories of Chinese in Canada.

Dr. Yu presented the project to the packed dining hall of St. John’s College.

There were many people from the community who participated.  Here is the UBC table.

Here is Ken Yip, president of the Chinese Canadian Historical Society of British Columbia, myself (Allan Cho), and John Yu (Henry’s father and friend of the CCHS).

The Chinese Canadian Stories involved twenty-eight communities across Canada.  From Victoria, BC’s University of Victoria to St. John’s, Newfoundland’s Headtax Redress Organization (NLHRO).

Chinese Canadian Stories began as a small project of collecting oral histories from Vancouver’s Chinese community.   Some of these oral histories are still being captured as we speak, and can be viewed online on its YouTube channel.  In this picture John Yu (standing) speaks to Larry Wong on his left.  Also sitting at the table is Bill Wong and his wife Zoey, of Modernize Tailors – subject of the documentary film “Tailor Made: Chinatown’s Last Tailors”

The night also included a very special recognition to Mary Keiko Kitagawa, leader in effort to get UBC to award degrees to 76 Nisei whose educations were affected by internment in 1941.  It was Mary who had first contacted UBC about the idea of welcoming the students back to campus and honouring their place and coming to terms with past injustices of the forceful removal and then internment.

The evening was capped off with a special honorary degree presentation to Min Yatabe.  It a very appropriate tribute during Remembrance Day weekend — Min had fought for Canada in World War II.   Big thanks goes out to Al Yoshizawa, of the Chinese Canadian Stories project, for permission to use these images.

Prior to Chinese Canadian Stories, the Initiative for Student Teaching and Research in Chinese Canadian Studies (INSTRCC) had already collected and promoted Asian Canadian Studies.  UBC has approved a new Asian Canadian Studies program, which will start in September 2013.

Reporting for Gung Haggis, this is Allan Cho

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