Now a truly North American event, the genesis of Asian Heritage Month can be traced back to the United States in 1977.
Following a resolution introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, the year prior, by Frank Horton, a New York Republican, and Norman Y. Mineta, a California Democrat, President Jimmy Carter signed a Joint Resolution on October 5, 1978, declaring the first ten days as Pacific/Asian Heritage Week. Twelve years later, on May 7, 1990, President George Bush proclaimed May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. On October 23, 1992 the enacting legislation was signed into law.
Edmonton’s Asian Heritage Month was founded in May 1998 and officially proclaimed by Mayor Bill Smith. It became the first ever in Canada to have its event officially recognized by a civic and, later, provincial government as a designated date. Three years later, in December 2001, the Senate of Canada passed a motion officially designating May as Asian Heritage Month in Canada.
Since its inception, Edmonton’s Asian Heritage Month has promoted the production and presentation of cultural works to new audiences, and the inter-generational exchange of ideas and experiences among leading creators.
One of the goals of the Asian Heritage Month Society of Edmonton is to organize and facilitate the delivery of social, education, literary events, and performances in celebration of the strength and diversity of the Asian (Pacific) culture; to assist writers, artists and performers in the publication, production and showcasing of their work and talent to the general public.
The AHM Society of Edmonton is excited to support the production of films and books that will serve as valuable resources to schools, educational institutions and the community at large. Encompassing legacy projects will tell the stories of some of the sensitive and suppressed topics of the past, leading to the achievements to be celebrated at present, as we envision a future free of racism and discrimination.
Our association has collaborated with the Edmonton Public Library to promote awareness of the contributions of Asian Canadians. We have engaged Edmonton’s youth to organize, participate in, and perform for audiences at various public venues.
We support the use of regional and local talent in creative productions in film, writing, events and encourage capturing family and community histories to be shared with the broader community via schools and libraries, through public screenings, discussion groups, and literary events.