I wrote previously about the Komagata Maru incident and its importance to the South Asian community in Vancouver and Canada. The incident is one chapter in a long history of racism in the city, province, and country. One of the plaques presented to the Khalsa Diwan Society reads:
British Columbia – Motion of Apology –
On May 23rd, 2008 the Province of British Columbia introduced and endorsed a motion to formally apologize for the events of May 23rd, 1914, when 376 passengers of the Komagata Maru were denied entry to Canada.
Motion No. 62, The Honourable Michael de Jong moved: “Be it resolved that this legislature apologizes for the events of May 23, 1914, when 376 passengers of the Komagata Maru, stationed off Vancouver harbour, were denied entry by Canada. The House deeply regrets that the passengers, who sought refuge in our country and our province, were turned away without benefit of the fair and impartial treatment befitting a society where people of all cultures are welcomed and accepted.
Honourable Michael C. de Jong, Q.C., Minister (Finance), Member of the (B.C.) Legislative Assembly.
The photos show a number of people who attended the commemoration event. Their faces reveal (what I term as) “mixed burdens of survival, relief, and accomplishment” as well as “joy and gratitude”.