Lorene Oikawa: National Association of Japanese Canadians stands in solidarity with LGBTQ communities

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      By Lorene Oikawa

      As Pride parades and events are underway, many are taking the opportunity to pay tribute to the victims of the Orlando shooting. The signs say “never forget” and some list the names of the 49 who lost their lives in the horrific shooting at Latinx Night at the gay nightclub in Florida.

      The National Association of Japanese Canadians (NAJC) offers heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones of those who were killed, and our thoughts are also with the 52 people who were injured. We stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ2 community.

      The NAJC condemns violence against any group of people, and also finds the xenophobic and anti-Muslim response to the shooting to be very troubling. Just as we speak out against homophobia, we must also speak out against Islamophobia.

      This isn’t just a problem in the U.S. We have seen increasing attacks on Muslims including a recent one against a mother wearing a hijab in a London, Ontario supermarket. We’ve also seen xenophobia used to support the vote for Britain to leave the European Union, and now in the backlash after the Brexit win.

      Let’s make a commitment to work together and drive out the hate from our communities. Japanese Canadians know too well how discrimination and racism can harm communities. Our history includes the unjust uprooting and incarceration of 22,000 innocent Canadian children, women and men who were targeted because of their Japanese ancestry. Never again. The NAJC will continue our work for inclusiveness, diversity, and equity and equality for all Canadians. Individuals, organizations, and government can make a difference to ensure Canada is the safe, welcoming country we want it to be.

      Formed in 1947, the National Association of Japanese Canadians is a non-profit incorporated community organization that represents the Japanese Canadian community, and focuses on human rights and community development.