Toronto Launches Campaign on How to Fight Racism Against East Asians

toronto

Toronto has launched a social media campaign that seeks to end racist acts against East Asian communities.

Since COVID-19 hit Canada, 26% of more than 600 incidents took place in Toronto, according to a national report published on Sept. 8.

Image via City of Toronto

On Monday, city officials, in partnership with the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice (CCNC-SJ) and community members, announced the “Anti-East Asian Racism” campaign to confront myths, stereotypes and statements like “Go back to China,” which aggressors use to collectively alienate East Asians.

The campaign includes a video featuring East Asian residents sharing personal encounters with racism before and during the pandemic, as well as its impact on their families and communities.

“Anti-East Asian racism has been on the rise since the start of the pandemic. Racist acts have NO place in our city. Be an ally. Join us and @ccncsj to help make our Toronto a #TorontoforAll,” the campaign video states.

Toronto Mayor John Tory said in a statement, “It is important that we call out this kind of behavior when we see it. Anti-East Asian racism, and racism and discrimination of any kind is harmful and has lasting negative impacts on the mental health and sense of belonging felt by our city’s East Asian community.”

A web page dedicated to the campaign discusses East Asian history in the city, what anti-East Asian racism feels like and what the public can do to help combat the issue. For starters, one can abandon myths of the “perpetual foreigner” and “model minority” in thinking and language (i.e. “Where are you from? Where are you really from? All Asian Canadians are engineers, accountants, doctors or lawyers.”)

Witnesses in actual racist incidents are also encouraged to step up. Hollaback!, an anti-harassment organization, provides training in “bystander intervention,” which employs a five-step methodology to help victims on the spot.

Image via City of Toronto

Overall, East Asians have suffered the most attacks in Canada (83%), followed by Southeast Asians (7%), South Asians (2%), mixed-race or biracial (1.5%) and Indigenous (1%). Sixty-five percent of all incidents involved verbal abuse and harassment, while nearly 30% fell into the category of assault (including targeted coughing, spitting and physical attacks), according to last month’s national report.

“Through this campaign, we are calling all fellow Torontonians to be our allies in our on-going efforts to make our city and Canada a truly inclusive place for all,” CCNC-SJ President Amy Go said.

The Anti-East Asian Racism is the 10th phase of the city’s “Toronto for All” campaign, which has an overall goal of “creating a Toronto that says no to all forms of discrimination.”

Feature Image Screenshots via City of Toronto

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