Today, the City of Toronto launched a social media campaign to bring attention to the need to combat racism in our city, including anti-East Asian racism. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a rise in incidents of racism against all East Asian communities in Toronto. Racial harassment/discrimination against East Asians can occur through stereotyping and overt prejudice, or in more subconscious, subtle and subversive ways.
Torontonians of East Asian descent contribute to the economic and cultural fabric of the city. Diverse cultures and communities such as these have helped create Toronto’s identity as a vibrant, global city.
According to the Chinese Canadian National Council, Toronto Chapter and Project 1907, 26 per cent of more than 600 reported anti-East Asian racism incidents in Canada took place in Toronto since the declaration of the pandemic. These groups partnered with the Vancouver Asian Film Festival and the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice (CCNC-SJ) to collect data on anti-East Asian racism incidents from across Canada.
To raise awareness and put an end to anti-East Asian racism, the City partnered with the CCNC-SJ and a coalition of community partners to develop a campaign that focuses on confronting harmful stereotypes and myths, and challenges Torontonians to reflect on how they may be – consciously or unconsciously – participating in anti-East Asian racism and encourages them to speak up to prevent racism when they see it.
The resulting campaign focuses on stereotypes such as the perpetual foreigner and model minority, and hurtful and absurd statements like “go back to China” – a comment often used by aggressors as a blanket statement that suggests East Asian-Canadians do not belong in Canada.
The campaign includes a video that showcases the real impact racism has on the lives of Torontonians and features Torontonians of East Asian descent sharing their experiences with racism prior to and during the pandemic, and the impact it has on them and their families and community.
The City values the contributions made by all its people and believes that the diversity among its people has strengthened Toronto. The City's motto, "Diversity Our Strength", is embedded in the work that the City does and the people to which we provide services.
Information and resources to educate Torontonians about anti-East Asian racism are available on the campaign website at www.toronto.ca/AntiEastAsianRacism.
This is the 10th phase of the City's Toronto for All campaign, which has an overall goal of creating a Toronto that says no to all forms of discrimination. The previous campaigns can be found at www.toronto.ca/community-people/get-involved/community/toronto-for-all/. All phases have been designed to raise awareness among Toronto residents to support the campaign's goal to build an inclusive city.
"It is important that we call out this kind of behaviour when we see it. Anti-East Asian racism, and racism and discrimination of any kind is harmful and has lasting negative impacts on the mental health and sense of belonging felt by our city’s East Asian community. As the Mayor of Toronto, I want everyone who lives in or visits this city to feel like they belong here." - Toronto Mayor John Tory
“In light of the pervasive racism experienced by people of East Asian descent across Canada, the City of Toronto’s timely and responsive action should be emulated by all levels of government across the country. Through this campaign, we are calling all fellow Torontonians to be our allies in our on-going efforts to make our city and Canada a truly inclusive place for all.”
- Amy Go, President, Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice