During the COVID-19 pandemic, Asian Canadians reported an inordinate number of racist comments and actions that resulted in many members of the Asian-Canadian community, especially the elderly, expressing fear of participating in the community, even in basic ways like shopping for necessities.
Consultation with the elderly members of the community lead to concern over Canadians’ lack of knowledge about the Japanese-Canadian community and their contributions and experiences in Canada. These repeated concerns led the Edmonton Japanese Community Association (EJCA) to strike a sub-committee– the Committee Advocating for Racial Equality (CARE). During their monthly meetings, the members of CARE decided that there was a need to increase awareness about racial inequality in the province of Alberta, especially as it pertains to Japanese-Canadians as members of the larger Asian-Canadian community. A Community-University engagement project was formed to address this need.
The CARE committee began to investigate ways to reduce and eventually eliminate such racism. The role of education weighed heavily in the research on projects that revealed success in this area. Community members suggested that knowledge about the Japanese community and their contributions to and experiences in Canada needed to be better addressed in Alberta schools. The committee set out to look for opportunities within the current Alberta Programs of Study to increase this awareness and knowledge. These efforts resulted in the development of this Directory.