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Those injustices date back to Vancouver’s first civic government, which made it clear at its first meeting in 1886 that “no Chinaman or Indian shall be entitled to vote in any municipal election for the election of mayor or alderman.” That position served as a launch point for decades of legislated and targeted racism by city leaders, including restricting where Chinese people could own and run a business.
Housing covenants, including one on the house owned by Coun.
Today, the descendants of the early migrants are integrated members of society and are making huge contributions to a society that did not welcome their ancestors.” Added Yiu: “Unlike the past, let us now welcome all newcomers to the city and treat them with respect and acceptance.” Choi’s great grandfather had to pay a head tax when he came to Vancouver in 1912.
She also has great uncles and aunt who are war veterans.
“Some lost their lives…and never returned,” Ing said.
“Those that did survive and returned home took up the fight for the right to vote.” Full voting rights were not granted to Chinese-Canadians in Vancouver until 1949.
C.’s Okanagan region and then split into units of about eight members each. “When we were down there training we never thought of coming back home because we knew once we went into Burma either we surrender or the Japanese would take us prisoner or we’d be dead,” says Lee, who trained as a radio operator.
“The hardships and discrimination endured by previous generations should be things of the past.
“Most important is to thank the many Chinese that came before us--the people that suffered and endured many challenges but kept the belief that this Vancouver had not only room for them…,” said Louie, his voice breaking before continuing.
“…but they also belonged.” Louie and the mayor later told reporters the apology is one commitment of the current council to strengthen relations with the Chinese community.
“It is hard to imagine, in today’s context, the sufferings endured by early Chinese,” said Yiu, president of the association.
“But the impact of family separation, economic hardship and social isolation is still deeply felt by their descendants.