Powell Street Festival Society graciously thanks the Howard C. Green Memorial Fund for a generous contribution toward our 40th anniversary campaign.
Howard C. Green, Conservative MP for Vancouver South from 1935 to 1963, was in support of the uprooting, and later the repatriation, of Japanese Canadians. In 2007, a federal building at 401 Burrard Street was to be named in Green’s honour. The family was elated, and then disheartened, when the naming was met with controversy. Mary Kitagawa, Grace Eiko Thomson, and other Japanese Canadian community members were in opposition, and ultimately, the building was renamed after the first Chinese Canadian MP, Douglas Jung. The drama of this controversy was the catalyst for some of Green’s grandchildren to research, and grapple with, their family history. A detailed history of Howard Green and Japanese Canadians has been published in a BC Studies (no. 164).
Before accepting this donation, PSFS discussed this with our Advocacy & Outreach Committee, and reached out to community elders and members for input. The response was truly heartening: “a sincere effort,” “opened… mind to see the truth,” and “help all those who are still victims of racism”. The evolution of relationships between Japanese Canadians and some members of the Green family offers insight into the process of reconciliation. PSFS plans to host a discussion on reconciliation in 2016.