Protecting Asian Lives: How We Can Do Better, Together

The recent rise in anti-Asian racism has pushed us to reflect on the historical and ongoing harm caused by acts of racism. CSA Western condemns these attacks on our community, not just at Western, but in our hometowns, our whole country, and around the world. We continue to strive to support and provide a safe space for the Asian community, particularly our fellow students on campus who may be shocked, angry, and/or afraid.

So many members of CSA’s community have been both directly and indirectly impacted by the increased acts of racism and violence spurred by xenophobia surrounding COVID-19. With that being said, it is not an option for us to sit around and wait for things to change; it’s time to take action. We’re sure that many of you feel the same way, so we’ve compiled a few steps and resources as a place to start.

Educate yourself The COVID-19 pandemic may have sparked its rise, but anti-Asian racism has been around since the late 1800s. Without the existing precedence and tolerance for anti-Asian racist acts (like implementing the Chinese Head Tax policy and withholding the right to vote from Asian-Canadians until 1947), it is likely that the recent incidence of violence against the Asian community would be much lower and that intentions against us would be much less malicious. Our duty as the Asian community and its allies starts with learning about this deep-seated history of racism. Fact-check your information, subscribe to related news and podcasts, and have important conversations with those around you.

Spread awareness, educate others, and demonstrate solidarity After learning about the history and background of anti-Asian racism in our communities, the next step is to share this knowledge with those who may struggle to understand the importance of the issue. Impactful change begins with education and awareness, so it is our responsibility not only to show support for the Asian community but also to garner understanding and support from others. Confront racism in public, be politically proactive, share resources, support Asian small businesses, and most importantly, engage in meaningful conversations about racism. You can start with something as simple as sending someone an informative post on social media or asking them about something you’ve seen on the news. In some cases, the conversation may be uncomfortable at first, but a little awkwardness is worthwhile if the other party derives some value from it.

Practice self-care and support fellow Asians in distress While it is important to get educated and stay informed, it is also important to do so in moderation, given the many downsides of overconsuming media. The recent influx of news covering the racism and violence against Asian-Americans and Asian-Canadians has created a media space that may be a major source of anxiety for Asian communities. If you are feeling overwhelmed, it is important to take breaks from constantly interacting with traumatic content. Use these breaks to spend time with your loved ones, do things that you enjoy, and seek necessary support resources. As an ally, make sure to check on your Asian friends and try to provide the support they need.

Donate to causes that work to change the system We can support the Asian community by donating to relevant organizations that work to stop hate and racism through actions like community restoration, community enrichment, policy reforms, and much more. GoFundMe has created a centralized page for all verified fundraisers. The AAPI Community Fund will benefit a growing list of organizations for their leadership in the AAPI community. Other sources that would benefit greatly from our donations are memorial funds for the victims of anti-Asian violence, to honour their memories and support their families.

Be an active ally If you see someone experiencing racism, discrimination, harassment, or assault, be an active ally. Listen to Asian voices and encourage them to speak up and speak out about the injustices they face in our communities. Report any anti-Asian hate you see. Western University has recently implemented its own reporting tool for discrimination and harassment. If you witness an act of anti-Asian hate outside io Western, covidracism.ca also has a comprehensive reporting tool, funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage of the Government of Canada.

Still feel confused about where to start? The resources linked below act as a great starting point for educating yourself and others. You can also access our carrd, where our team has compiled a more comprehensive set of resources and educational materials to refer to.

  1. https://anti-asianviolenceresources.carrd.co/

  2. https://www.project1907.org/resources

  3. https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/segregation-of-asian-canadians

  4. https://www.elimin8hate.org/resources

  5. https://www.toronto.com/news-story/10349793-timeline-this-is-canada-s-history-of-anti-asian-racism-that-covid-19-has-amplified/

  6. https://tryingtogether.org/community-resources/anti-racism-tools/