Restaurants in Montreal’s Chinatown are using fortune cookies to ward off the anti-Asian racism that has victimized the community amid the coronavirus crisis.
Earlier this year, lion statues at the entrance to the neighborhood — as well as in other temples in the city — were smashed or defaced with spray paint.
About a dozen officers from Station 21 fanned out on Tuesday to speak with business owners, hear their concerns and inform them of crime prevention, according to Global News.
Some locals believe that the crimes, particularly the desecration of temples, have to do with anti-Asian sentiment, which has heightened in many parts of the world since the onset of COVID-19.
To help combat the problem in their neighborhood, restaurants are collectively dispensing fortune cookies that contain anti-racist messaging.
The campaign, titled “Fortunes for Solidarity,” was announced by community leaders and politicians on Oct. 31.
The fortune cookies contain messages such as “The wise practice social distancing, not racial discrimination” and “Discrimination hurts; solidarity cures.”
Businesses participating in the campaign include Ding Xian Dumplings, Restaurant Fung Shing, Beijing, and Dobe & Andy, to name a few.
Aside from fighting racism, each fortune cookie carries a 10% discount coupon that can be used for future purchases — a reasonable incentive to revive the neighborhood’s economy.
“It has been a very long seven months, and it continues. Our businesses have to stop suffering,” Jimmy Chan, who heads two Chinese community associations, told Montreal Gazette.
Kate Lau, who owns Sasa Salon, told CTV News, “Even our western clients who come to our salon, they get criticized by their friends. ‘Why are you going to Chinatown, are you crazy?’”
New campaign launched in #Montreal‘s #Chinatown to battle racism and relaunch business. 5,000 of these fortune cookies containing anti-racism messages will be handed out, and the fortunes will serve as 10% off coupons for a bunch of businesses include Dobe & Andy and Beijing. pic.twitter.com/T5TMbMrHM8
— Dan Spector (@danspector) October 31, 2020
“Fortunes for Solidarity” covers a total of 5,000 cookies, each of which comes with takeouts. The campaign will end on Nov. 23, when Quebec is expected to lift lockdown measures.
“There is no one in Chinatown right now; it is so quiet. I think that might be one of the reasons why people are vandalizing,” Dobe & Andy co-owner Eric Ku told Eater. “The opportunity is just there for them.”
Coupons from the fortune cookies will be honored until Dec. 21.
Feature Images via CTV News