Holly Ho has worked with campus partners to develop a full slate of events for Asian Heritage Month. The Adler Student Association events are open all University students, faculty, and staff. Please scroll down to see the complete list.
As technology has grown, so have the challenges it brings. Over the past few years, a spotlight has shined on viral misinformation – and over the past two years, it hasn’t slowed down. As the COVID-19 pandemic grew, so did the wave of misinformation, giving rise to anti-Asian hate and violence around the world. For Vancouver master’s student Holly Ho, Asian Heritage Month is an opportunity to reflect and learn from these past few years, while also celebrating the diverse Asian culture and community.
When Ho moved to Canada a little under a year ago, she knew she wanted to learn more about the country’s government and democracy as a whole – something that had become increasingly difficult to do in her home city of Hong Kong. In 2019, she was working as a marketing professional in the cybersecurity field when the Hong Kong anti-extradition protests broke out. The city, which operated under a unique autonomy from China, was facing new legislation that would chip away from its existing democratic structures, like the right to dissent and independent press. Hundreds of thousands of people took the streets, leading to violent clashes between demonstrators and the police.
Although the extradition bill was tabled in October 2019, new legislation has been imposed on Hong Kong, allowing for mass arrests against protestors, students, journalists, legislative council members, and many more. Ho saw the need to act and wanted to learn more about democratic governing. Never having been to Canada before, she decided to pursue a master’s in public policy and administration from Adler Vancouver.
“I am trying to find ways I can support my people, and I see the need to equip myself with knowledge about policy and government in order to do so. It’s not possible to learn about these things in Hong Kong anymore,” said Ho.
Today, just two semesters in, Ho is a student member of Adler Vancouver’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee and serves as co-president of the Adler Student Association.
Sandra Song, program director for Adler Vancouver’s MPPA program and chair of the Adler Vancouver Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, worked closely with Ho to bring this month’s events to fruition.
“It’s important for students to build skills and knowledge through teamwork, communication, and leadership activities,” said Song. “Getting involved in extracurricular activities such as committees like the Adler Student Association or Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee give students the chance to learn how to implement and practice equity, diversity, and inclusion, and to become socially responsible practitioners. It also allows students to expand their horizons and meet different people across the University.”
Currently, Ho’s extracurricular work entails raising awareness of the Student Association’s Asian Heritage Month events.
“I see Asian Heritage Month as an opportunity to facilitate understanding of Asian people and the challenges they are facing right now, not only in Canada but in all Asian countries. With what I experienced in Hong Kong, I see the need for global attention toward people living in Hong Kong and other things happening across Asia,” she said.
Ryan Chan, a project lead for social media and online hate for the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice will join for an event on May 18, titled Bat Soup: Social Media Regulation and the “Free Speech” Conundrum. The event seeks to educate the Adler community on how social media and misinformation throughout the pandemic exasperated Asian hate.
There will also be a webinar series entitled #What’sHappeningIn…, where attendees can learn about the fight for democracy in countries around the world. It includes speakers who will discuss democratic barriers in Myanmar, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Tibet.
While learning about the challenges facing Asians today is critical, Asian Heritage Month is also an opportunity to celebrate the diverse cultures across the continent. To do so, Ho has organized a mindfulness and meditation workshop based on the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk and activist.
Additionally, Understanding the Korean Wave Among Young Korean Canadians will explore the recent rise of Korean culture in Canada. Ho, a self-proclaimed lover of K-pop, invites Kyong Yoon, Ph.D. professor of cultural studies at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, to discuss how Korean culture has influenced young people’s identities in Canada, specifically those from Korean immigrant families.
#Whatshappeningin Webinar Event: The Spring Revolution: Myanmar’s “New” Unity in Diversity
Calvin, student leader, Myanmar Students Coalition British Columbia
May 12, 2022
12-1 p.m. PDT
#Whatshappening in Webinar Event: Thailand. What is the Milk Tea Alliance? Thailand and the Pan Pacific Democracy Movement
Kritsada Aiken, student leader, Thai Democratic Movement in Canada
May 17, 2022
5-6 p.m. PDT
Bat Soup: Social Media Regulation and the “Free Speech” Conundrum
Ryan Chan, project lead for social media and online hate, Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice
May 18, 2022
12-1 p.m. PDT
First Step to Mindfulness: Thich Nhat Hanh’s Philosophy and Meditation Workshop
Bethany Lloyd, founder, Waves and Water Sangha in Vancouver
May 19, 2022
12-1:30 p.m. PDT
#Whatshappeningin Webinar Event: Tibet. Self-immolation of the Tibetan Pop-Star Tsewang Norbu – The Long Fight of Tibetan Freedom and Independence
Tenzine Cheme, student leader, Students for a Free Tibet
May 26, 2022
12-1 p.m. PDT
Understanding the Korean Wave Among Young Korean Canadians
Kyong Yoon, Ph.D., professor of cultural studies, University of British Columbia Okanagan
May 30, 2022
12-1 p.m. PDT
#Whatshappeningin Webinar Event: Hong Kong. David and Goliath – The Past and Present of Hong Kong’s Democracy Fight
Ms. Mabel Tung, chair, Vancouver Society in Support of Democratic Movement
May 30, 2022
5-6 p.m. PDT
“All of these events will help us learn more about the contributions and issues impacting Asians in Canadian society. We hope that the Adler community will take an hour or two to learn and understand the people around them,” said Song.