Cette photo est probablement tout ce que je savais de Kenneth Cheung, décédé le 1er septembre 2008 des suites d’une attaque cardiaque à l’Hôpital Royal-Victoria à Montréal. Promoteur immobilier, il a été candidat à la mairie de Montréal en 1986, pour attirer l’attention sur le manque de représentation des minorités visibles dans les instances politiques (ce qui est encore totalement vrai aujourd’hui chez les personnes d’origine chinoise, ou asiatique en général).
Voici un extrait de la lettre de Victor Wong du CCNC qui m’a informé de la nouvelle:
It is with sadness that I inform you of Kenneth Cheung’s passing. Kenneth skillfully managed to advance numerous social causes for three decades. I’ve known of Kenneth since the late 80’s when he was helping Chinese students who were stranded here after June 4, 1989. He was very passionate in his advocacy on numerous community and human rights issues. In November 2003, Kenneth was elected as CCNC National Chairperson and his appointment triggered the regional realignment at CCNC. Kenneth was very firm about the principles of redress even though he and his family were not affected by the Head Tax and Exclusion Act. In 2004, Kenneth walked out on our meeting with Hon. Raymond Chan when the Minister insisted that we agree to the Government’s preconditions of “no apology, no individual financial redress.” It was this resolve that steeled many of us to mobilize the head tax families and the Chinese Canadian community to fight back against the 2005 Government-imposed ACE program.
Un obituaire paraîtra dans le Montreal Gazette de demain. Les funérailles de M. Cheung auront lieu ce samedi à la maison funéraire Aaron, au 1031 St-Denis (angle De La Gauchetière).
Toute la journée, ce samedi 7 juin, auront lieu au Quartier Chinois de Montréal des activités spéciales à la mémoire des victimes du séisme qui secoua la province chinoise du Sichuan, le mois dernier. Le groupe de marcheurs quittera le Parc Sun Yat-sen peu avant 16h, pour se diriger sur le Boulevard René-Lévesque, jusqu’à la Rue McGill, en revenant par le Vieux-Montréal vers le Quartier Chinois. Une commémoration se déroulera ensuite en soirée, de 19h à 21h au Parc Sun Yat-sen.
Communiqué de presse (Français / Anglais)
This Saturday, June 7th, for the entire day, special activities will be held in Chinatown in memory of the victims of the earthquake that shook the Chinese province of Sichuan. The walk will start in Sun Yat-sen park shortly before 4PM, and will march on Boulevard René-Lévesque, up to McGill Street, and then head back to Chinatown through Old Montreal. A commemoration will then happen in the evening from 7PM to 9PM at Sun Yat-sen Park.
Press release (French / English)
Eugene Yao was born in Shanghai in 1946, and came to Canada in 1969 as a student of McGill University in electrical engineering, where he met his wife-to-be, Winnie Ng, a sociology student. He was later president of the Chinese Canadian National Council. In recent years, he became known for starting a commuter bicycle shop in Toronto called The Urbane Cyclist. (Toronto Star | Activist Magazine)
My friend Bethany knew him personally and this is what she had to say about Yao:
Eugene was the most generous, kind-hearted person you could imagine. He was a forward-thinking man, and decided to leave traditional employment behind. He was married to Winnie Ng, well-known NDPer and immigrant- labour-rights activist in Toronto. They let me stay at his house for a month when I was working in Toronto and refused to let me pay them a cent, loved by all my friends who were clients of Urbane Cyclist.
I had just got my bike stolen when I moved in with them and Eugene kindly supplied me with a sturdy old beater for the month! Of course, it ran like a dream….