Anti-Asian Racism: The Story You May Not Know
Time & Location
About the Event
“The Story You May Not Know: What does anti-asian racism look like?”
Recent media reports have highlighted the rise of anti-Asian racism alongside COVID 19 with stories of Asian men and women being attacked verbally and physically at bus stops, on trains, in grocery stores, to people in the highest political office using expressions like “China Virus”. The Vancouver Police Department reported that anti-Asian hate crimes have increased by 717% in Vancouver in the past year. Videos and reports of elders in Asian communities across the continent being spat on and pushed to the ground are frequently on the news and the Atlanta shooting on March 16th shook Asian communities to the core.
Racism, especially anti-Asian racism, is not new to Thanh Tazumi. She has been raising the awareness of racism since the mid-1990’s when the Vietnamese community in Campbell River experienced intense racism. Her work ranges from leading some of the first Walk Away from Racism events to facilitating workshops on diversity, inclusion, cultural awareness, and Anti-racism Response Training (A.R.T). Thanh and her colleagues Naomi Wolfe, and Sanchit Mittal have facilitated A.R.T workshops for over 1000 participants across Canada.
“The Atlanta shooting on March 16th was the breaking point for me. While I was celebrating my birthday with my family on the evening of March 16th, 8 people, 6 of whom were Asian women, were murdered because a man felt that massage parlours were a temptation for him. I felt the cumulative and collective pain that is felt by Asian communities across this continent” Thanh’s daughter Charis, remembers reading the news before serving cake for her mom, distraught while also wanting to celebrate her mom. The next couple weeks were filled with intense reflections on what it means to be an Asian Canadian, in a time of so much uncertainty, fear, and hatred.
“I felt really helpless. I didn’t know what I was doing, or what my purpose was. After taking time to practice self-care, to grieve, and to process what happened, I decided to
hold a fundraiser to donate to Asian Americans Advancing Justice, who had a fund for the affected families”. Charis sold homemade gyoza in Victoria and raised $1600, and was astounded by the amount of support she got. During this time, Charis and Thanh had many conversations about anti-asian racism, and how they both felt like they had so much to share with their community.
The pair will be facilitating the webinar: “The Story You May Not Know: What does anti-asian racism look like?” through the Student of Color Collective (UVic) a collective of self-identified Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, to provide information and a space for this important conversation.
Carolyn Moi, and EAL instructor and past webinar attendee noted that “racialized or non-racialized, this conversation is open to and for anyone who welcomes the opportunity to listen, to feel, to understand, to gain insight, to build awareness, to reflect, and to learn.” In the workshop Thanh shares stories of her experience as a refugee, as an Asian woman at work, and as a mother raising two daughters in a white society. She and her daughter Charis discuss micro-aggressions, the model minority myth, the history of anti-Asian racism in Canada, as well as Western imperialism and its connection with the hyper sexualization of Asian women. The workshop will share some ideas for confronting implicit bias and how to be an ally.