Help Line

Asian Heritage Okanagan 2024 Opening Forum

  • 7, May

Kelowna, BC — May 2024

The Asian Heritage Month 2024 opening event hosted by OCCA Communities Association showcased diverse discussions led by Dr. Shirley Chau and captivating performances. Supported by UBC Okanagan and Okanagan College, the event celebrated cultural diversity and emphasized community involvement. The upcoming Asian Heritage Showcase at Parkinson Recreation Center on Saturday, May 25 promises to continue fostering diversity, inclusion, and cultural appreciation.


Event Details:


Kelowna, BC — The OCCA Communities Association (OCCA) hosted the opening event for Asian Heritage Month (AHM) 2024 on Saturday, May 4, 2024, at the Rotary Center for the Arts. Participants and performers from all ethnic backgrounds were welcomed.


MLA Norm Letnick, MLA Ben Stewart, 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.


This year’s AHM 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. They also discussed lessons learned and strategies to co-create a more inclusive community, engaging in lively exchanges with the audience. The event also showcased various performances on site, including choir, vocal solos, various Asian musical instruments, and piano.


Since 2012, the OCCA Communities Association has led the organization of Asian Heritage Month celebrations for 13 consecutive years, persisting even through virtual events during the pandemic from 2020 to 2022. Long-term AHM hosting partners include the Okanagan Filipino-Canadians Society (OFC), Okanagan Korean Culture and Knowledge Society (OKCK), Kelowna Japanese Language Society (KJLS), and Okanagan Sikh Temple.


This year, UBC Okanagan and Okanagan College made significant contributions to the success of the AHM Opening Forum, the Okanagan Regional Library provided unwavering support for the Asian Heritage Exhibition (May 1-31) and Asian Heritage Movie Week (May 14-17), while Kelowna Art Gallery is the venue for Family Sundays (May 5, 12, 19, 26). The 2024 AHM Showcase will be held at the Parkinson Recreation Center on May 25.


The AHM event is not only a celebration of Asian heritage but also aligns with broader societal trends towards equity, diversity, and inclusion. It empowers the community to embrace cultural differences and encourages action through voices of younger generations.


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


*Photos are taken by Yuki Lu for OCCA and are authorized to be published.