Racism is an issue that needs to be confronted by all Canadians. COVID 19 has brought out the best in some people and the worst in others. There has been an increase in mental health issues and that has triggered some occurrences of targeted hate violence in Canada and the rest of the world.
Fear and anxiety has grown out of the misperceptions of the origins of this pandemic, with people blaming China for starting the Covid 19 pandemic and that has set off a whole chain of racially motivated attacks on some of our Canadian citizens. Hate and racially motivated aggression has targeted not only the Asian population, but Indigenous, Black and People of Colour as well.
Certainly, in our own community, some people have expressed being very afraid for their safety. We need to get past this place of hatred in our society and go forward together. We are all part of one human family, and we need to stand together against hate. As a business community we are allies against discrimination of any kind. There is no place for it in our society
Stand With Asians Coalition (SWAC) is a community of people in Canada who are concerned about the surge of anti-Asian racism in our cities. Vancouver has seen a staggering increase of over 700%, Burnaby - 350% increase, and Ottawa - 600% increase in 2020. A recent federally-funded study reported 1150 cases of racist attacks in Canada last year. Forty percent were reported in Ontario and forty-four percent were reported in B.C. Sixty percent of the cases were reported by women.
Stand With Asians Coalition brings allies together to raise awareness and to combat anti-Asian racism. We must condemn all forms of hate in public spaces as it creates unsafe conditions for members of the Asian, Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, and Racialized Communities.
May is Asian Heritage Month in Canada. The City of Burnaby is the first city in Canada that has officially made a proclamation, declaring May 10, 2021, as the “Day of Action Against Anti-Asian Racism”. Many cities on the west coast, such as Vancouver, Surrey, Port Moody, New Westminster, Richmond, the District of Missions and on the east coast, Toronto and Ottawa, have either made similar proclamations or are in the process of reviewing.
SWAC is organizing a National Day of Action Against Anti-Asian Racism E Rally on Zoom on May 10 at 5 PM PT/ 8 PM ET. Speakers include Jenny Kwan, MP (Vancouver - Kingsway), Dupinder Saran, Registered Nurse & Member of the South Asian COVID Task Force, former MP Olivia Chow and MP Matthew Green (Hamilton Centre). Sign up here.
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May 10, 2021, as the “Day of Action Against Anti-Asian Racism”
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When COVID hit, we wanted to make sure our businesses were protected from crime, so we quickly reached out to the Burnaby RCMP Community Policing department for support. They immediately responded with a poster campaign and also substantially increased patrols in the area and surrounding community. Many merchants commented they were seeing police cruisers at all hours of the night and day! We put the posters on everyone’s windows and in the local papers, which proved a great deterrent to criminal activity in the business area.
The innovative program was also picked up by the cities of Surrey and Richmond.
For regional information on COVID-19, and how you can help prevent the spread of the virus, please visit Vancouver Coastal Health: http://www.vch.ca/
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