(This letter was sent to Port Alberni City Council on February 24, 2023)
Dear Mayor and Council,
I write on this important day February 24, 2023.
81 years ago today, after decades of anti-Asian racism and resentment whipped up by prominent politicians like our own AW Neill, Canadians of Japanese descent were forcibly removed from their homes, their possessions and properties confiscated and ultimately sold, families loaded at the PNE grounds in Vancouver like cattle and transported to internment and labour camps in the Interior.
They had done nothing wrong except immigrate here from the wrong country.
Today is also the 1st Anniversary of the full scale war in Ukraine, where Russian government agencies have forcibly removed Ukrainian children and families in an attempt to “cleanse” the Ukrainian territory and assimilate and erase Ukraine’s heritage and future.
We must never forget the atrocities humanity is capable of excusing.
We must never honour those who defended and championed these most horrible periods, now or in the past, like AW Neill did throughout his life and career.
Change the name of the street.
(Image from Embassy of Japan in Canada – Memorial to Japanese Canadians in Port Alberni Cemetery)