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Vancouver speaks out against racism during COVID-19 pandemic

Vancouver speaks out against racism during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted in: News Item

Date Posted: 2020-05-05

Organization Name: City of Vancouver

With the celebration of Asian Heritage Month in Vancouver during the month of May, the city needs to acknowledge there have been increased incidents of hateful comments, vandalism, and violence in our own city targeted at people of Asian descent.

“As a city of reconciliation, Vancouver is committed to anti-racism, anti-discrimination, diversity, inclusion, and the full participation of all members in our society,” said City Manager Sadhu Johnston. “Healthy communities are established and thrive when all community members experience a strong sense of belonging, respect for diversity and intercultural understanding, and social cohesion. No one should feel unsafe, harassed or that they don’t belong, and we at the City of Vancouver will not tolerate acts of hate.”

History has shown that racism and discrimination are heightened in times of crisis. While various forms of racism, faith-based discrimination and stigmatization of people living in poverty continue, the global spread of coronavirus has triggered targeted and intensifying xenophobia and anti-Chinese/anti-Asian racism in cities around the world.

The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) is investigating a number of anti-Asian incidents in the past several weeks. The city and Vancouver police take hate crime and hate-motivated incidents seriously. Anyone who has been a victim of hate crime or witnesses a hate crime is encouraged to report it to police.

“We must acknowledge and confront racism and discrimination when and where they occur,” said Sandra Singh, General Manager of Arts, Culture, and Community Services, and responsible for the city’s support programs for its most vulnerable citizens. “Each of us has a responsibility to stand against racial prejudice and intolerant attitudes. We at the City of Vancouver stand with our diverse communities and celebrate their contributions to the fabric of this amazing city. And we continue to support those with longstanding vulnerabilities caused by racism, poverty and exclusion.”

Community supports and initiatives include:

  • VPD Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigenous Relations Section implements public safety initiatives, develops community partnerships, and addresses victimization and investigates incidents motivated by bias, prejudice, and hate
  • Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network connects communities with information, supports and training, to respond to and prevent future incidents of racism and hate
  • MOSAIC offers services such as legal advocacy, raising awareness of challenges based on race, supports for LGBTQ newcomers, and Multicultural Victim Services support
  • Vancouver Asian Film Festival launches “elimin8hate,” a multi-media campaign to document and transform racist attacks against Asian-Canadians into positive public service announcements.