What it means to be Canadian

Typically I spend every Canada Day long weekend enjoying doing something Canadian. Whether it is kayaking or camping the beautiful outdoors of our “home and native land” or celebrating with all the wonderful members in our community at Jamie Baxter Park, there is always some form of comradery to be shared.

Though Canada is celebrating 150 years as a nation, I would also like to acknowledge the centuries long before that this land has been First Nation territory. On Canada Day I hope we honour you too.

As the first generation of my family’s bloodline to be born Canadian, I’d like to express what a privileged it is to have been raised in Canada.

Canada has is multicultural country, and as a half Czech and half Filipina, I am acutely aware of the diverse cultural customs we share.

That is what being Canadian means to me. To be able to practice and share with others the cultural traditions of our heritages.

Most of all, the desire to break bread with each other, build relationships, to learn about this diversity is always welcomed and accessible, even in small towns like Houston.

Though I am sure the experience of others varies, I have come to know that Filipinos love their banquets and karaoke, and that the Czechs enjoy their solitude with a cold beer and a very few close friends.

Whether you are out doing these things on Canada Day, or celebrating Canada in a way that is inherent to your culture, to your home, you too are participating in a form of gratitude that says we are ‘true patriots of love’ and are honoured to express that freely in whatever cultural form we choose.

This country still requires a lot of healing from the many political dispositions it has undertaken over the countless decades.

And for those whose memory and experiences of those times are still fresh, for those that are experiencing a new kind of discrimination right now, please, react with compassion.

A smile can kill the rage received, and soften the trauma held in a heart.

May your Canada Day weekend be filled with the nation-wide compassion that every citizen is sharing on July 1.

On behalf of Houston Today, happy 150 years Canada.