Members of the Pacific Canada Heritage Centre and Museum of
Migration Society (PCHC-MOM) are dedicated to the mission of
facilitating and nurturing collaborative relationships among Canada’s
diverse communities, through the inter-generational sharing of our cultural
heritage and stories of im/migration to and within Canada. PCHC-MOM
is committed to the ideals of a pluralistic, multicultural society that
respects and protects its citizens equally. Sadly, recent events have shown
that we do not live in a just society.
Prejudice, racism, and systemic bias still permeate our interactions at all
levels. A recent spate of incidents showing police brutality against Black
and Indigenous individuals, most caught on video, have sparked
worldwide protests against such unjustifiable, racially influenced violence.
The Black Lives Matter movement points to major flaws and injustices in
our society, and demands real, sustained changes to our systems. We all
need to listen, to reflect, and to unite in working towards a more inclusive
and equitable Canada.
Equally as prevalent, but perhaps less well-documented, are incidents of
anti-Asian hate and violence. Vancouver itself has seen a significant
uptick in anti-Asian hate crimes and incidents. Vancouver Police have
opened up 77 hate-related files in the city as of May 2020, up from 51
over the same time last year (CityNews 1130, May 22, 2020).
Fear and hysteria are running high in Canada and the world, as a result of the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on us, our health systems, and our economies. With no imminent solution in sight for ending the pandemic, people are quick to look for someone to blame. Individuals with Asian features – whatever their ethnicity – are ready targets, given the first reports of the virus appearing in Wuhan, China.
In the June 2020 report by The Angus Reid Institute and the University of Alberta, Blame, bullying and disrespect: Chinese Canadians reveal their experiences with racism during COVID-19: “Half (50%) of participants report being called names or insulted as a direct result of the COVID-19 outbreak, and a plurality (43%) further say they’ve been threatened or intimidated. … Two-thirds (64%) report feeling coverage from North American news outlets has led to negative views of people of Chinese ethnicity in Canada.” (http://angusreid.org/racism-chinese-canadians-covid19/).
Therefore, we applaud the launch of the “Elimin8hate.org” campaign by Vancouver Asian Film Festival (VAFF) and Project 1907 (a year of violent anti-Asian riots in Vancouver). The #Elimin8hate campaign is a “Call to Action for our community [ ] to stand up and to speak out against anti-Asian violence and to support all the other organizations making actionable change.” Please make time to tell your story, by reporting any anti-Asian incident you experience or witness, at “https://www.elimin8hate.org/fileareport”. Please consider making a 1-minute Public Service Announcement to empower Asian Canadians or to educate the community, or to speak out against racism. Help to spread the word about Elimin8hate.org and/or donate to their cause, as you are able, so that they can more broadly disseminate the stories of many Asian Canadians suffering hate incidents.
It is more important than ever, that we take the time to listen to each other’s lived experiences, and to show respect and compassion for all our fellow Canadians. We and our children must learn the full history of those who came before us – Indigenous peoples and all immigrants – to understand how we have arrived at this moment of crisis in Canada and the world. Only then can we understand how our individual and collective biases, actions and inaction, have combined to create our current society that perpetuates injustice and inequality. Only then can we work together to right the wrongs of the past, to make sustained changes, and to build a society based on respect and mutuality, where we all are willing to meet each other’s needs in ways that work for the collective good.