Photo Credit: Jason Leung
Anti-Asian hate crimes have been on the rise since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic (as we first wrote about here over a year ago). The most recent and horrific example came last week in Atlanta, where eight people were killed, six of whom were women of Asian descent. Since this tragedy, the conversation about erasure, racial equality and anti-Asian hate has been blown wide open on social media.
Although this shooting happened south of the border, Canada is far from being a role model for racial equality. As per an article from CTV News, the proportion of visible minorities who experienced an increase in harassment or attacks based on their race, ethnicity or skin colour has tripled compared to the white population since the start of the pandemic.
The collective mourning for the losses in Atlanta and outpouring of support for the Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community left me asking how I could be an effective ally during this time. Now I want to share with you what I learned:
Boston University claims that building awareness through education and conversation is one way to be an ally to Asian communities. This can include: seeking resources to educate yourself on the current climate of anti-Asian hate, the deep-rooted history of anti-Asian hate in Canada and America and additional ways you can be an effective ally. Opening up the conversation about anti-Asian hate also brings awareness to the issues of racial hate crimes and discrimination towards AAPI.
- Sign, donate, share
PBS lists three ways to be an ally to the AAPI: sign, donate and share. Signing petitions can support calls to action as well as draw attention to anti-Asian hate on a large scale. For those that are able to financially support anti-Asian hate efforts, donating to Asian resource and community centres is another way to be an ally. Lastly, sharing information spreads awareness and educates your community about anti-Asian hate and discrimination.
- Check-in with your AAPI peers
Opening the conversation to your peers and seeing if there is anything you can do on an individual level to support AAPI is a crucial step in being an ally. However, it’s important to ensure you are opening conversations in a respectful and educated way.
- Speak out and report
Lastly, it is important for allies to speak out and be active bystanders when they see acts of anti-Asian hate or discrimination. Additionally, reporting instances of anti-Asian hate is an important piece of allyship to ensure the right people are notified when injustice occurs.
This list is by no means exhaustive — there are many more ways to be an ally. Continue to research best practices and resources to ensure you are supporting AAPI not only during this time, but all of the time.