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ASIAN HERITAGE MONTH 2009: US REPRESENTATIVE AND DEMOCRATIC PARTY VICE-CHAIR MIKE HONDA VISITS MONTREAL


Montreal, May 18, 2009 --- US Congressman Mike Honda (D-Ca) visited Montreal on May 16, 2009 as guest of honor at CRARR's Asian Heritage Month activities.

The Hon. Honda is the Chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC); the founder and Chairman Congressional Ethiopia and Ethiopian American Caucus, the Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Senior Whip in the House of Representatives. He is particularly interested in civil rights, labor, transport, education and hi tech, as his congressional district includes Silicon Valley. The Hon. Honda is presently working closely with his colleagues in the House, particularly members of Congressional Hispanic Caucus, on President Obama’s immigration reform plan.

In partnership with Royal Bank, the Ministry of Immigration and Cultural Communities of Quebec, the City of Montreal, the Institute for Research and Education on Race Relations (IRERR), the Japanese Canadian Cultural Center of Montreal (JCCCM), and the Montreal Chinese Community and Cultural Center among others, CRARR organized several activities in Montreal including a visit to Montreal City Hall to sign the Golden Book, a special brunch, a visit to the JCCCM, and a dinner in Chinatown.

Guests of honor at the dinner included Ms. Yolande James, Quebec Minister of Immigration and Cultural Communities; Ms. Yasmin Ratansi, MP, Opposition Critic for National Revenue; Ms. Raymonde Folco, MP and Chair of the Canadian Association of Parliamentarians for Population and Development; Mr. Thierry St-Cyr, MP, Bloc Québécois Critic for Citizenship and Immigration; Mr. Jacques Chagnon, Vice-Chair of the Quebec National Assembly; Mr. Amir Khadir, MNA and co-leader of Quebec Solidaire; Mr. Marcel Tremblay, member of the Executive Committee of the City of Montreal, and Mr. Marvin Rotrand, City Councillor. One hundred forty guests, including the Vice-Consul of the United States and the Consul General of Haiti, made the evening a successful celebration of Asian Heritage Month.

The dinner program included an address by the Hon. Honda and a video tribute to notable Montrealers of Asian descent and their friends who have passed away in recent years: Kenneth Cheung, businessman and civil rights advocate; James Wing, Chinese Head Tax Redress advocate; Carmelita Sideco, community leader and nursing professor; Rei and Kim Nakashima, community volunteers and leaders; Muhammad Khan, the first President of the Islamic Center of Montreal; Melca Salvador, labour and women's rights advocate; Marielle Beauger, community leader and public health teacher and Edouard Anglade, Montreal's first Black police officer.

Earlier in the day, the Hon. Honda was received at City Hall by Executive Committee Chairman Claude Dauphin. Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe, MP; Ms. Yasmin Ratansi, MP from Ontario; Ms. Raymonde Folco, MP and Chair of the Canadian Association of Parliamentarians for Population and Development; Francine Lalonde, MP; Alexandra Mendes, MP; Lise Zarac, MP; Mr. Amir Khadir, MNA and co-leader of Quebec Solidaire and Mr. Marvin Rotrand joined other community leaders at the specially arranged Golden Book signing ceremony.

The Hon. Honda also visited the Japanese Cultural Center of Montreal, where he was greeted by many Japanese Canadian seniors who were forcibly relocated as “enemy aliens” from the West Coast of Canada to Montreal during the Second War. Himself interned at that time in the U.S. due to his ancestry, the Hon. Honda viewed historical records and exchanged on the Redress movements in Canada and his country. Mr. Justin Trudeau, MP, was also present. The visit was a moving moment as it was Mr. Trudeau's first visit to the Center (his father, the late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, opposed compensation for Japanese Canadians).

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The Hon. Mike Honda at City Hall