Long-time Richmond resident Edward Liu has been nominated for the B.C. Multiculturalism and Anti-Racism Award this week for his years of dedication to these areas.
“I’m very happy about (the nomination) and am encouraged by it,” Liu, a Hong Kong immigrant and one of the editors for Chinese newspaper Sing Tao Daily, told the Richmond News.
“By recognizing people who use their time to contribute to the harmony of the community, it’s a great way to convey to them that these people are not alone; they are supported by the government.”
Liu was one of the organizers for a number of anti-racism rallies in the city, including one in 2016 after anti-immigration flyers targeting the Chinese community were distributed in the Steveston area.
The event at the Brighouse Canada Line station drew more than 250 people from various ethnic backgrounds at the time.
Liu was also one of the organizers and speakers at a major anti-racist demonstration at Vancouver City Hall in 2017, where almost 4,000 people showed up to counter a previously planned rally against immigration.
“My talk was about the goodness of multiculturalism and the importance of racial harmony in Canada. There are some problems and issues, but hatred is not the solution,” said Liu.
As a columnist for the major Chinese newspaper, Liu has conveyed his ideas to a larger audience through the power of words on a daily basis.
One of Liu’s most popular articles was written last September, after the police announced that the murder suspect of 13-year-old Shen Xiaoyu was a Syrian refugee.
“That created a lot of emotion in the community,” said Liu.
“As far as I know, that article became an important source for people, at least in the Chinese community, to help people to put the whole thing into healthier perspective, instead of just blaming refugees.”
Liu said he doesn’t see himself as an activist, but rather as a Richmond resident and a father who is “just doing what I think is right.”
“One of my biggest motivations for doing all these things is my kids,” he said.
“Richmond is their hometown, Canada is their home country. If I think racial harmony is important to them and their generation, then I think I have the responsibility and moral duty to do something to contribute to that particular area.”
Liu said racial harmony is not something static, which a society either has or does not have, but instead it’s something people need to make an effort to maintain.
“I encourage people to step outside of their comfort zones, to spend some time to talking to their neighbours, or to actually do something to reach out to people from different backgrounds,” said Liu.
“Instead of thinking of the disadvantages that have been brought to the community by immigrants, think about what you can do to actually enhance multiculturalism in Canada.”
The Government of B.C. will announce the award recipients on March 21, which is International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, in Vancouver.