During this Lunar New Year, a time when we would hope tat those of Asian descent would feel most free to celebrate their ethnic and racial background as a blessing from their Creator and as a gift to the broader Church, we grieve that xenophobia and anti-Asian hate continues to rise. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, gut-wrenching stories from more than 600 incidents of anti-Asian racism have been reported since the emergence of Covid-19 in Canada. In BC, women accounted for 70% of these reported incident. Anti-Asian hate crimes in Vancouver increased by 717% in 2020.
Through our own Listening Project involving neighbours in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, which includes the city's historic Chinatown neighbourhood, 26% of our East and South-East Asian neighbours reported severe impacts to their wellbeing due to fears of safety. Many shared personal experiences of verbal and physical racist attacks. Some of our Asian staff have also had experiences of being recipients of micro aggressions and explicit racism because of their race and ethnicity. Nearly 3000 self-reported incidents of anti-Asian racism have been recorded in the US.
There is a long history in Canadian and American society of systematically excluding Asian citizens, perpetuating demeaning ethnic stereotypes and scapegoating Asians unjustifiably with disease, on top of blaming Asians for the other societal struggles. Canadian laws like the 1885 Chinese Head Tax and the 1923 Chinese Exclusion Ban created systemic policies for Anti-Asian racism and exclusion that justifies racist attitudes and action by other citizens, Such as the devastating Vancouver and Japantown riots in 1907. The Asian community has been blamed for the rise of the housing prices in BC in recent history while inadequate housing policy continues to perpetuate the housing crisis. In a survey last September, 80% of Asian respondents felt that Canadians blame people of Chinese ethnicity for Covid-19.
This is a daily reality for our neighbours. Our team that lives and works in Chinatown in Vancouver have heard firsthand the history of heartbreaking physical and verbal attacks towards seniors for many years, long before Covid-19. Seniors have reported fear in leaving their homes due to racial violence and watched landmarks in their community get vandalized with racist graffiti. We grieve with them their increased social isolation and loneliness due to fears of hate targeting Asians on top of the isolating impact created by pandemic measures.
Servant Partners condemns all anti-Asian hate rhetoric, graffiti, characterizations and violence, both verbal and physical.
We lament that all Black, Indigenous and people of colour experience racism on a daily basis in our country and communities and we stand n solidarity against all forms of hate.
Racist attacks including verbal harassment must stop.
We recognize the efforts across cities in Canada, especially from BIPOC members to track instances of hate. We call for greater dedication from local and federal government to utilize the research to stop the cycle of racism and violence in our communities and implement anti-racist policies in Canada's post pandemic recovery plan.
To our Asian Canadian and American brothers and sisters,
We see you and we grieve the pain and suffering that has always been present in your lived realities and has increased this past year. You have been essential to the formation of our country's collective identity and we recognize the sacrificial contributions that you have and continue to give. For those who have spoken up and have been tirelessly fighting for racial justice in your communities, we see and recognize your emotional labour, resilience and dedication. The Strength of Canadian communities is in its diversity and we are committed to an ongoing and locally informed stand against anti-Asian racism.
What can you do to join us?
Consider how you can be a helpful ally to Asians and other BIPOC in your community.
Support your local Asian small businesses.
Follow and donate to your local nonprofits that support marginalized Asian communities in your city.
If you are Asian, or know Asians who have experienced racism, hate and violence, report those experiences to Project1907.org/reportingcentre
Show solidarity through your celebrations of the Lantern Festival on Friday, Feb 26th
Traditionally a day for celebration, connection and joy in communities, it also marks the end of the Lunar New Year.
Light and hang a lantern in your home, attaching your own commitment of support for and action in solidarity with Asiana in your community this coming year.
you could also prepare or buy Tang Yuan to eat. This traditional Chinese dessert of glutinous rice balls is eaten during the Lantern Festival to symbolize unity. Take a picture of your celebration nd send it to us on Instagram or Facebook #servatpartnerscanada
Krista-Dawn Kimsey, Joel Kimsey & Wendy Au Yeung
on behalf of all staff with Servant Partners Canada