May is Asian Heritage Month

May is Asian Heritage Month in Canada and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the U.S.A. In Canada, this includes Canadians of East Asian decent, South Asian descent, Southeast Asian descent, West Asian descent and Central Asian descent.

I am proud to be second-generation Sri Lankan Canadian. My bi-cultural identity and upbringing have fed and influenced so many aspects of my life. Our stories give us power, in whatever way and form we choose to share them that is true to and resonant with the teller. It's powerful to take a moment to celebrate the journeys we have taken, and the journeys our parents and grandparents took before us. How have their voices echoed in our lives? How do their voices give us courage, hope, conviction, or strength in the present moment? What are the lessons we carry because of their migration, our shared heritage and ancestry?

Here are some quick facts on Asian Heritage month in Canada:

  • Almost half of the immigrant population in Canada was born in Asia. In 2016, 48.1% of all immigrants were born in Asia (including the Middle East).

  • Children with an immigrant background could represent between 39% and 49% of the total population of children in 2036.

  • Almost 3 in 10 children in Canada are second-generation

  • Immigrants from each immigration wave from Asia, as well as their Canadian-born descendants, have contributed to the ethnocultural diversity of the country's population.

  • In 2016, a total of 6,095,235 people in Canada reported having Asian origins, representing 17.7% of Canada's population.

  • Sri Lankan Canadians refers to people from Sri Lanka who have arrived and settled in Canada. Among these immigrants include members from the Sinhalese, Tamil, Moor, Malay and Burgher ethnicities.

  • According to 2016 census there are 152,595 Sri Lankans in Canada.

Notable Sri Lankan Canadians include:

Poet, fiction writer, essayist, novelist, editor, and filmmaker Michael Ondaatje; Novelist Shyam Selvadurai; Principal Research scientist at the National Research Council of Canada Chandre Dharma-Wardana; Academic Engineer Indira Samarasekera; News anchor Anne-Marie Mediwake; Cricketers Sanjayan Thuraisingam and Pubudu Dassanayake; Film Actor, producer and Guinness World Record-holder Suresh Joachim.


Happy Asian Heritage Month, and if you would like to share, I would love to hear more about your story in the comments section below ...


Stats source: Asian Heritage Month... by the numbers (statcan.gc.ca)

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