Celebrating Asian Heritage Month
May 31st, 2021
By: Annemarie Cutruzzola
As May comes to close, the Social Ventures Zone is marking Asian Heritage Month by celebrating the Asian entrepreneurs in our community.
The theme for Asian Heritage Month 2021 was "Recognition, Resilience, and Resolve, external link." Resilience and resolve are key traits for any entrepreneur, but even more so for those who face additional unjust barriers in their lives and careers due to their race. Asian Heritage Month is a time to stand against anti-Asian racism but also to honour the achievements and cultures of Asians in our community.
This month we are celebrating the resilience and resolve of the Asian entrepreneurs here at the SVZ and giving them the recognition they deserve.
We wanted to spotlight their voices, so read on to hear about what Asian Heritage Month means to them! Follow the links throughout the blog to read more about these startups and the incredible social impact these entrepreneurs are making.
The Spent Goods Company
The Spent Goods Company is a social venture reducing climate change and food waste by converting spent grains into delicious baked goods. Spent Goods works with local businesses to re-imagine food waste, reducing their expenses and carbon footprint while generating new revenue sources. One of their main projects involves working with craft breweries to turn leftover barley grain into bread.
"I am a Canadian-Sri Lankan who considers himself extremely fortunate to have lived in 2 worlds with different languages, cultures and socio-economic circumstances. This has and continues to inform my ability to appreciate different points of view and perspectives."
Taboo Health is a non-profit collective of health educators, creatives, and advocates who curate art and design exhibits that address the most challenging health topics. They believe that art is powerful, evidence matters, and dialogue is necessary.
“Asian Heritage Month to me is integrating my unique world views of East meets West. Learning to embody both collectivist values and individualist values. Informed by healing approaches from Western science with Eastern philosophies. Down to embodying the counterculture of an Asian creative that is honouring and bringing the worlds of public health and the creative arts together to make healing trend.”
The Good Tee
The Good Tee, external link provides premium quality fashion basics that are ethically produced using only Certified Fairtrade Cotton. They are a Certified B Corporation and prioritize transparency with their production process and supply chain.
Adila is also the founder of Source My Garment, responsible apparel manufacturing agency that helps fashion brands through the process of manufacturing fair trade products made from fabric.
"After learning about the high suicide rates among farmers in India, I started The Good Tee to support farmers and those who make our clothes. We manufacture our clothing in India, and I'm really proud to be supporting them, especially as the country faces the impacts of COVID-19."
Talk Media is a local Toronto journalism start-up specializing in hosting events and experiences that bring stories to life. They experiment with storytelling forms and engagement strategies in order to foster a local community of curious thinkers.
They strive to rebuild the fractured, untrusting relationship many have with the media, by finding ways to connect audiences with journalists in a way that creates bridges rather than breaking them.
"My family's history in this country traces back to the early 20th century as Chinese immigrants. My family shared, through first-hand accounts, the direct impact that racist immigration policies and second-class treatment had on them. So for me, this month is about spreading the story of their fight for a legitimate place in this country, while also recognizing that there’s still work ahead, especially in regards to violence against Asian women."
Daria Day jewelry is exquisitely handcrafted by artisans using only natural, ethically sourced gemstones and silver from the foothills of the K2 mountain in Northern Pakistan. They create wearable and functional art for people looking for style and authenticity. They are deeply committed to elevating the lives and communities of their artisans by providing sustainable and dignified wages.
"As a Canadian of Pakistani origin, Asian Heritage Month presents a great opportunity to showcase my birth country's culture, art, and history. But on another level, Asian Heritage Month is also important because it highlights the fact that Asians are made up of diverse cultures and peoples each with their own history and challenges."
Savyn is an inclusive platform for mental health therapies for trauma and PTSD. They provide vulnerable groups with the help they need to overcome PTSD and live their best lives. Their solution brings three proven clinical interventions for PTSD onto a digital platform available in multiple languages.
"As an immigrant whose first language is not English, l understand how language can be a barrier for accessing health care. Our platform is multilingual so non-native English speakers have access to healing"
"Celebrating our Asian heritage can look different to many of us. For me it's the many wonderful lessons from my ancestors that I carry with me, ones of spirituality, being connected to the Earth, people and empathy. This also means that I am also unlearning many things from my ancestors as well, in order to heal from the intergenerational trauma so I can break the cycle."
"One take on what Asian Heritage Month means to me encompasses the arts and culture that goes beyond influencing only Canada, but a wider appreciation globally. For example, in "Memoirs of Matsuko" the protagonist says multiple times "I am home", but no one responds, reflecting on the vicissitudes of some Asian Canadians of the struggles in finding a sense of belonging."
"For me, Asian Heritage Month is to strengthen the roots we have built and established among our communities, to encourage open-mindedness on the diversity of our own culture and across all cultures, and to welcome new connections. This month-long event also provides us with an opportunity to raise voices, stand together, support one another and be proud of our Asian heritage."