Submitted to the Alberni Valley News on March 18, 2021.
When I heard the news of a shooting in Atlanta on March 17 that targeted Asian-American women, I knew I had to write this letter. Silence is betrayal. A statement from the group Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta said: “this happened under the trauma of increasing violence against Asian Americans nationwide, fuelled by white supremacy and systemic racism.” A day later, Premier Horgan released a statement, the 2nd in a month, decrying increased hate crimes against women and the Asian community.
I write not only because of these tragic events, but also because a day before the attack, March 16th, was the 99th anniversary of Alan Webster Neill‘s maiden speech in the House of Commons where he said: “the greatest protection of all we want is protection against Asiatic encroachments”, and urged the Mackenzie King government “toward bringing about a white British Columbia”.
We all know the history before and after. The pain it still causes does not allow us to forget. Today, history is repeating as some media and politicians take up the same hateful messages. Our youth especially — the man charged in Atlanta is only 21 — are vulnerable to these violent messages. The longer we honour or quietly accept hateful figures, in the past or present, the longer we will be forced to deal with the tragedies that that hatred inevitably creates. The School District made the right decision to change the name of AW Neill school but the work in this city is far from over. Let us not be silent. Let us be courageous, and continue to work against racism and hate wherever it stands.
Anti-Asian Racism Resources
The following resources were provided to me by Dr. Imogene Lim, Professor of Anthropology at VIU and longtime activist for the Asian-Canadian community in BC.
25 March 2021 12:00 – 1:30 pm
NICK WELLS | THE CANADIAN PRESS | March 19, 2021 | Globe and Mail
NEWS | Rights + Justice | Labour + Industry | Gender + Sexuality
The Atlanta killings remind us of conditions faced by women of Asian descent working in the industry here.
Katie Hyslop | March 19, 2021 | TheTyee.ca
Many viewed the shooting rampage in Atlanta that left eight people dead as the culmination of a racialized misogyny that they say has long been directed at them.
By Shaila Dewan | March 18, 2021 | NYTmes
CBC Comedy · Posted: Mar 18, 2021
Since the start of the pandemic, Anti-Asian hate crimes in Canada have increased by 700%. Comedian Leonard Chan breaks it down and explains why it doesn’t make any sense.
MARCH 18, 2021 | Chinese Historical Society of America
Gillian Brockell | March 18, 2021 | Washington Post
Cherokee County Sheriff’s spokesman says Atlanta shooter had ‘really bad day’
By Meryl Kornfield and Hannah Knowles | March 17, 2021 | Washington Post
The author Cathy Park Hong sees the recent upsurge in violence as a turning point for Asian Americans.
Morgan Ome | March 17, 2021 | The Atlantic
The pandemic has been a dangerous time for people of East Asian descent in North America, and this week’s deadly shootings in Georgia has raised concerns even more
PUBLISHED MARCH 17, 2021 | Globe and Mail
Alexander Chee and Cathy Park Hong on how the pandemic has cracked open discrimination against Asian American communities
Alexander Chee | 16 March 2021 | GEN
Header image captured from the Government of Canada “Hill Cam“. March 18, 2021