Toronto NAJC President’s Report – June 2014

May 25, 2014 at 2:14 pm

David Fujino

It Is Not Given

Julie F. Gilmore, author and historian, spoke to her students about the racial profiling and restrictive immigration laws that appeared in a well-known report from the U.S. Government in 1911.

Its racial preferences were listed in terms of who should be allowed to immigrate to the U.S. and who should not. Asians were at the bottom of this list.

Of course, Gilmore’s students had grown up in a multicultural Canada and were really surprised by this blast from the past.

But Gilmore said she wanted her students “to be aware that we need to protect our openness to multiculturalism and diversity. Because it is not a given that we will always be this way.”

Her astute observation emerged from an interview the Toronto Star was conducting about her book, Trouble on Main Street: McKenzie King, Reason, Race and the 1907 Vancouver Riots, but her observation got me thinking about the mandate of the NAJC to be a watch dog when it comes to the protection of peoples’ civil rights.

Am I really dredging up ancient history?

If so — why did it happen that on May 2nd some people in Boston took to Twitter and hurled racial slurs at P.K. Subban, star of the Montreal Canadiens, victorious in double overtime, 4-3, against the Boston Bruins?

Race — made an issue — raised its ugly head.

We should appreciate the lives we live today and honour the many before us who worked and fought hard to give us a better life.

But the fight goes on.

Especially, as a JC, it seems important to be conscious, and vigilant, and caring, about the rights of us all.

“It is not a given.”

That’s what I took away from Julie F. Gilmore’s observations.

Finally, thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Giichi Ohashi for their generous donation to the Toronto Chapter coffers.

Respectfully yours,
David Fujino