Over the past year, anti-Asian racism and hate crimes have been on the rise in Canada. Since it began, the COVID-19 pandemic has been fuelling Anti-Asian racism in the country and around the world, and advocacy organizations have been calling for change.
The ACT2endracism Network is one of these organizations. The advocacy group was founded in March 2020 by a group of concerned citizens and community groups of Asian descent with the aim of ending anti-Asian racism brought on by the pandemic while promoting equality, equity, inclusion and social justice in Canada. As part of the movement to stop Asian hate in Canada, they recently launched a new video campaign to dispel misinformation and harmful stereotypes about the Asian community.
New Video Campaign Counteracts Harmful Stereotypes
Released over May and June in line with Asian Heritage Month, their new video campaign called “Let’s Talk” features five videos aimed at sparking a dialogue around racism, hate and intolerance towards the Asian community while encouraging people to reflect on their own experiences.
“It’s important to put into context the long history of the contribution of Asian Canadians and yet despite that, there is a continued misperception they are from somewhere else and we don’t belong,” says Teresa Woo-Paw, former Alberta MLA and the founder of ACT2endracism.
Videos Unpack Complex Issues to Stop Asian Hate
The videos unpack a variety of stereotypes that fuel anti-Asian racism. The themes discussed in the videos include the “model minority myth,” which perpetuates the stereotype that all Asian people are successful, hard-working and law-abiding, thus removing any individual differences among them as a group, as well as “yellow peril,” which positions Asian people as a threat to the western world.
In addition to the video campaign, ACT2endracism unpacked these complex issues in a webinar last month featuring a panel discussion with the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Deputy Minister Daniel Quan-Watson, Chief Commissioner Marie-Claude Landry and Dr. Gina Wong. Moderated by Woo-Paw, the panel discussed the yellow peril narrative and the ways in which our country’s systems and structures continue to uphold it today.
Videos Available For Anyone to Share
“The network has produced many resources over the past 12 months to help combat racism, but last year we thought it would be helpful to produce some videos to examine the root causes to anti-Asian racism and counter the misinformation that has fuelled anti-Asian racism,” Woo-Paw says during the webinar. “The videos range from PSA-style to documentary-style, and the topics include microaggressions, perpetual foreigner, model minority and yellow peril. Our ultimate goal is to have these videos shared widely and used as resources in different settings, educational organizations and public entities.”
The videos in the new campaign also feature discussion papers created in partnership with the Asian Canadian Educators Network for community organizations to use as a companion guide and resource when spreading the word about anti-Asian racism. ACT2endracism continues to raise awareness, conduct research and provide the community with resources to combat racism of all kinds across the country. The videos and webinar are all available to watch online.
Stop Asian Hate Part of Global Fight Against Discrimination
Over the past year, we’ve seen activists all around the world fight for change and an end to discrimination. Last summer, worldwide marches lifted the Black Lives Matter movement to unprecedented heights.
In Saskatchewan, activists stood in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and shared their own experiences with microaggression and racism. The rise of the Black Lives Matter movement also brought attention to the Indigenous Lives Matter movement in Saskatoon. Both movements centre on the systemic racism perpetuated against Black and Indigenous Peoples in Canada.
One year later, voices continue to rise against racism and intolerance towards any race or group of people. Today we’re celebrating Pride Month without forgetting that only decades ago, Pride events celebrating LGBTQ2S+ culture took the form of riots and protests instead as the community fought for change. This year, some Catholic schools in Ontario have raised the Pride flag for the first time in history.
As toast contributor Daniel Dalman wrote in his history of the Pride movement, “I hope the momentum doesn’t stop. Because moving in the right direction — that is something to be proud of.”