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Celebrate Asian Heritage Month in Kelowna

The opening forum was held May 4
Opening event at the Rotary Centre for the Arts in Kelowna. ( Image/ Yuki Lu for OCCA)

The opening event for Asian Heritage Month was held at the Rotary Centre for the Arts on May 4.

Hosted by by OCCA Communities Association and supported by UBC Okanagan and Okanagan College, the event celebrated cultural diversity and emphasized community involvement.

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, Westside-Kelowna MLA Ben Stewart, Kelowna Mayor Tom Dyas, and Councillor Mohini Singh were present, alongside President Neil Fassina from Okanagan College and Marten Youssef, the Associate Vice President of University Relations at UBC Okanagan. Elder Grouse Barnes delivered the territory welcome on site.

The Opening Forum featured a panel discussion led by Dr. Shirley Chau, associate professor at the School of Social Work at UBC Okanagan. Students of Asian heritage from UBC Okanagan, Okanagan College, and OKM Secondary joined the discussion, sharing their stories of belonging and integration in the Okanagan. The event also showcased various performances on-site, including choir, vocal solos, various Asian musical instruments and piano.

For 13 consecutive years, the OCCA Communities Association has led the organization of Asian Heritage Month, even with virtual events during the pandemic from 2020 to 2022. Asian Heritage Month partners include the Okanagan Filipino-Canadians Society (OFC), Okanagan Korean Culture and Knowledge Society (OKCK), Kelowna Japanese Language Society (KJLS), and Okanagan Sikh Temple.

“The OCCA Communities Association is committed to representing various racialized groups in the Central Okanagan, fostering diversity, inclusion, and multicultural understanding,” Fei Liu, the new executive director of OCCA.

Other Asian Heritage Month events include Family Sundays at the Kelowna Art Gallery will run each weekend throughout the month of May (5, 12, 19, 26) and will feature Asian crafts for children to enjoy.

From May 14-17, the Okanagan Regional Library in downtown Kelowna will host an AHM movie week.

The screening of the four movies – Under the Willow Tree, Home Feeling (Struggle for a Community), Aftermath (The Remnants of War), and Seven Shades of Pale – is free for all people. A discussion session will follow the completion of the last movie, Seven Shades of Pale, on May 17.


For more events go to: Kelowna celebrates Asian Heritage Month with full schedule