The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada condemns the racist and misogynist mass shootings in Atlanta, Georgia that killed eight people – including six Asian women – on Tuesday night and calls on all Canadians to join us in the fight to end anti-Asian racism here at home.
What happened in Atlanta is utterly deplorable, and our hearts go out to the victims, their families, and their wider communities. With our proximity to the United States, and our large Asian diaspora communities from coast to coast to coast, we are impacted by these events. And make no mistake, anti-Asian racism is happening in Canada. And it should not be happening in Canada.
The current pandemic has, unquestionably, exacerbated anti-Asian racism in Canada, with some Canadians reacting to the outbreak that began in Wuhan, China, by blaming or targeting Chinese Canadians and other Asian Canadians for a naturally occurring global health phenomenon.
We wholeheartedly support the Hon. Mary Ng, Canada’s Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, who, in her ‘End Anti-Asian Racism’ campaign launched on Twitter yesterday, wrote: “We have vaccines to inoculate against COVID-19, but we don't have a vaccine for ending racism. We must work together to stop Anti-Asian racism, or risk threatening the very social fabric that makes us truly Canadian.”
Indeed, according to demographic projections, the proportion of foreign-born people in the Canadian population will increase from 20 per cent in 2006 to between 25 per cent and 28 per cent by 2031 – and just over half (55%) will be born in Asia.
As Minister Ng further commented on Twitter: “Generations of Asian Canadians helped build Canada – from constructing the railway in the 1880s to employing thousands of Canadians in their small businesses today and supporting your family as caregivers, nurses, doctors and essential workers.”
The role of APF Canada is to engage with Asia, and better educate Canadians about this broad, diverse, and dynamic region. Only through education will we successfully counter the inflammatory rhetoric that is fomenting racial discord and unravelling our proud social fabric. Through our Curriculum Project, the Foundation is infusing Asian history, culture, and context into British Columbia’s high-school curriculum. We hope we have made a start. Our goal is to expand this program to all of the K-12 education systems across the country, demonstrating to young Canadians the value of Asia and their Asian neighbours – at home and abroad – to their futures in the global community.
As we wrote last June on the issue of anti-Asian racism in the COVID era, Canada is Better Than This. I encourage you to read and share this piece and join us and other like-minded Canadians like Minister Ng in drawing an indelible line through anti-Asian racism.
– Stewart Beck, President & CEO, Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada