VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – History is about to be made in Vancouver–Mayor Gregor Robertson will be making an apology on Sunday for the racism and discrimination the city showed towards people in the local Chinese community throughout over a number of decades.
Sunday’s apology takes place at the Chinese Cultural Centre in Chinatown from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. April 22 has also been dubbed Chinese Cultural Day, with food, games, history tours, and other activities to celebrate Chinese culture following the apology.
Baldwin Wong is a social planner with the city and points out the ceremony is a culmination of years of consulting with historians, judges, veterans, and descendants.
While an apology looks to the past, Wong says the city is eager to move forward.
“We would like for the city to partner with the community to look at outreach in education for young and others to speak to that part of history to be more aware about how racism can occur,” Wong tells NEWS 1130.
Among other things, the city will apologize for not letting Chinese people vote until 1948 and for supporting the federal head tax.
Wong is hopeful the city’s attempts to rectify the situation won’t end with the apology, offering up a few suggestions for how to extend the reconciliation.
“One of the key recommendations is for the city to consider applying to UNESCO for a World Heritage designation for Vancouver’s Chinatown,” he says. “That would be a major initiative because no Chinatown in the world, we understand, has obtained that designation.”
He says Vancouver is very privileged to have well-preserved historical buildings and a vibrant community. “UNESCO recognizes that in terms of the living culture of a community and how it binds us in the present to the past.”
Another recommendation is to recover ‘lost stories’ from the Chinese community in Vancouver in order to round out the city’s colourful history.