There’s a reason we selected Rita Ueda for the online cover on Pancouver’s first anniversary. The Vancouver composer has made it her mission to tell positive, intercultural stories through chamber operas. Ueda’s newest production, I Have My Mother’s Eyes: A Holocaust Memoir Across Generations, will premiere this month at the Chutzpah! Festival.
Similarly, we at Pancouver strive to promote dialogue and intercultural understanding, rooted in mutual respect. We’re challenging the tendency to self-segregate within cultural, ethnic or national silos.
Writer and former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould describes people who do this work as “in-betweeners”.
“It takes courage and it demands being uncomfortable,” Wilson-Raybould says. “It often means breaking away from and out of expectations.”
As someone who’s worked as a journalist for many years, I know that media outlet anniversaries can be overblown. Nevertheless, each anniversary is useful in getting the word out about a publication. It shows that you still exist when others have gone kaput.
With that in mind, I’m feeling very good about Pancouver marking its first anniversary today. When the Society of We Are Canadians launched this new media outlet on November 8, 2022, we had no idea what the future might bring.
We had broad objectives. They included promoting underrepresented artists, decolonizing minds, and building empathy for others. We also wanted to level the playing field for artists and communities, regardless of national origin or their proficiency in English or other languages.
Since then, we’ve published 550 articles written by three staff members, 21 contributors, and 84 Canadian and non-Canadian scholars who supply pieces to The Conversation.
Many readers have praised Pancouver’s design, which was conceived by art director Jessica Sung. I’m also thrilled by how easy it is to navigate the website, which was built by Michelle Wu. In addition, I appreciate Mandarin interview translations provided by associate editor becky tu, as well as Punjabi translations by star short-story writer Harpreet Sekha. You can read becky’s articles here. Plus, Emily Chen has done a great job as a website administrator.
Pancouver often tells stories about folks who are receiving media coverage in Canada for the first time. We’ve met many amazing people, who’ve broadened our perspectives in a multitude of ways.
On Pancouver’s anniversary, here’s a public thank you to everyone who’s agreed to be interviewed or contributed. Also, big thanks to those who’ve signed up to the newsletter, followed Pancouver on social media, or retweeted and reposted articles.
In addition, I want to thank Society of We Are Canadians Too general manager Charlie Wu and the board members—as well as Carol and Leigh Pan—for having the courage to support a new media outlet that promotes intercultural understanding. You are truly “in-betweeners” in the best sense of the term.
Occasionally before an interview, someone will ask me a question: “What is Pancouver?”
Often, I respond by saying that we just want to help people understand our neighbours. It’s not any more complicated than that.