Toronto launches social media campaign to fight anti-East Asian racism

Published On October 22, 2020 | By Beatriz Baleeiro | News
Beatriz Baleeiro

The City of Toronto has started a social media campaign to put the spotlight on fighting anti-East Asian racism.

Since the breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a rise in racism cases against East Asian communities in the city.

“Fighting racism is both an individual and collective effort. People must come together to collaborate on strategies that address racism across the systems we live and work in but it is equally important to do the internal work,” Jaclyn Wong, ‘Live Well, Take Action’ program manager said in an email interview for Humber News.

According to Wong, people need to continuously reflect on how race and racism manifest in their daily actions and thoughts and recognize that this work is sometimes messy.

“For younger children, it may be helpful to start conversations with them about race and racism, as some may not recognize how race plays a role in their lives,” she said.

“This may involve an older person or peer sharing their own stories to provide examples or making sure that the child has someone they can talk to, if they experienced or know someone who experienced racism.”

In an interview for The City of Toronto, Amy Go, President, Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice said “In light of the pervasive racism experienced by people of East Asian descent across Canada, the City of Toronto’s timely and responsive action should be emulated by all levels of government across the country.”

According to the data provided by the Chinese Canadian National Council, Toronto Chapter and Project 1907, 26 per cent of more than 600 reported anti-East Asian racism incidents in Canada took place in Toronto since the beginning of the pandemic.

The campaign includes a video that features the real weight racism has on the lives Torontonians of East-Asian descent sharing their experiences with racism before and during the pandemic, and the repercussions it has on them and their families and community.

Toronto City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam appears in a social media campaign against anti-East Asian racism in the city. (Youtube/City of Toronto)

These groups partnered with the Vancouver Asian Film Festival and the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice (CCNC-SJ) to collect data on anti-East Asian racism incidents from across Canada.

A program ran by the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter, ‘Live Well, Take Action’ educates youth about racism through interactive activities in order to build a foundational understanding of race, culture, and other identities.

By the end of the program, the high school participants create community projects to raise awareness of social issues affecting East Asian communities. These projects highlight a wide range of topics, some of which focus on racism.

The program manager also said that fighting racism calls for more creativity, compassion and an understanding that this fight against racism is a lifelong commitment.

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