In the past few years, we have all watched as heinous acts of violence have been perpetrated against racialized communities and individuals. We’ve felt the outrage, fear and anger expressed by these communities and the deep pangs of injustice.
Recently, we have seen the rise of hatred directed toward the Asian community in the West, including here in Canada as they are unfairly targeted and blamed for the frustration caused by this pandemic. Even the most vulnerable and respected people in these communities, the elderly – our grandmothers and grandfathers – have been attacked as they go about their daily lives. This past week, the continued escalation of this hatred brought about the senseless deaths of eight people in Atlanta, six of whom were Asian women. All of them were taken away from their families in one cowardly act.
This is my community. I am an Asian-Canadian woman. I cannot stay silent because to do so would be to let fear win. To not speak out is akin to condoning these acts. Now is the time we all must all raise our voices to decry these despicable acts of evil.
There are those who still choose to deny the realities that racialized people experience daily. For Canadians who will not admit that racism exists against Asians and other minorities in our own country, I will attest that as third–generation Canadian, I have experienced racism and discrimination in all its forms throughout my life. These incidents are too numerous to count and go back to my earliest memories. The stories of overt and covert racism Asian people are now openly sharing are true. I know this because I have lived it. The unspoken reality of being a racialized person in our country is to know how it feels to be made less worthy. You must work harder than anyone to prove your worth as a citizen and human being. You must constantly be mindful to disprove every stereotype and even then, you are never fully accepted. As an Asian woman, I’ve been made to feel dehumanized and treated with utter disrespect because of the body I was born into. Many Asian women I know have experienced this as well. I am so grieved to hear my Asian sisters express fear about going outside because they are the easiest targets during this time of unjustified rage. This is not the country that I love and defend. We are better than this.
Through my work, I have seen the beauty that exists when we can build genuine camaraderie as fellow travellers on this journey of life where each contributes a different perspective to create a whole. I have been blessed to be part of a work community that genuinely accepts differences but doesn’t allow them to divide us. Our CBM staff composition is as diverse as anyone could possibly imagine, but each of us works hard to learn and understand each other’s cultures while being united in our common goal to share God’s love in a broken world. Our experience illustrates that it is possible to achieve this ideal kind of community, but it takes effort and intentionality to not fall back on reductive conclusions based merely on race or gender.
Together, we must object when racist ideals are being perpetuated, even behind the guise of jokes and subtle microaggressions. We must stop treating immigrant Canadians like strangers in our land. We must stop laughing at people’s given names that have not been anglicized for our convenience. We must stop complaining about people’s accents and grammar because learning English or French is hard. Try learning Mandarin and you’ll understand what I mean. Call out these behaviours when you witness them. Do not accept them in your workplaces, churches. schools or conversations with friends.
Hate is wrong. God is love. As people all created in God’s image, we were made for unity.
Today, I ask you simply this: be our ally. All racialized people, but particularly in this time, Asian people need allies who will not stay silent. I ask you to stand not just behind us but beside us in solidarity during our time of pain. Stand with me and every Asian friend, neighbour, colleague, business owner or church member you know. Reach out to them to tell them that you are with us. That we are not fighting this battle alone. This violence and hatred must stop, not just for the Asian community, but for all people of every race, ethnicity and culture. Talk about racism in your churches and actively take a stand and voice against it as a congregation. I ask this not just for me, but for my children and all our children who deserve to live in a world without fear. We must work together if we wish to see a different future than this current fractured and bleak reality.
Please stand with us today.
#stopasianhate #stopantiasian #racismisavirus