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We Are Not a Virus: Join the #StopAsianHate Movement

It’s likely that you’ve heard about the recent anti-Asian hate crimes happening since the start of the pandemic. Anti-Asian hate crimes, violent assaults and murders have been happening worldwide and don’t seem to be stopping any time soon. I’d also like to say that although most of the reported crimes have occurred in the USA, it does not mean that Canada, or any other place, does not have racists. It’s also likely that you’ve seen the hashtag #StopAsianHate on social media but don’t know what to do besides tap through a few Instagram stories about it. Hopefully, this article will help you do more than just performative activism.

The #StopAsianHate hashtag goes beyond exclusively being used by Asian social media users. It’s been used by many globally to show support and stand in solidarity with the Asian community. But the unfortunate truth is that more than often, the hashtag is used as performative activism. If you’re looking to do more than using the hashtag, here are some ways to support the movement.

1. Stay informed

Whether it’s from following the reputable accounts on Instagram to filling your feed with reliable information or speaking to Asian members within your community, it’s your responsibility to educate yourself and stay informed. Doing your own research on anti-Asian violence and discrimination is a large part of being an active ally. Not only does staying informed mean staying up to date with the news, but it also means understanding the history of racism against Asians. There are some great resources to visit, including stopasianhate.info, which provides resource links to learn more, share information and donate to organizations. There are also countless online articles written by Asian writers who share their thoughts about anti-Asian discrimination and recount their personal experiences.

2. Speak up

Even as a Chinese-born Canadian, speaking with my parents about the recent anti-Asian hate crimes was a difficult but necessary conversation between us. Growing up in a mainly populated Asian community, I was fortunate enough to experience only a handful of seriously racist, snide remarks. And even if I did receive any, too frequently, I would brush them off as friendly teasing. Having difficult conversations with your loved ones is one of the main parts of being anti-racist. Educate not only yourself but the people around you as well. Except, realize that becoming actively anti-racist doesn’t happen overnight and after one conversation. Hopefully, at the very least, you will share knowledge and inspire others to do their research and remain informed.

3. Be an active ally

News flash – just saying you’re an ally doesn’t make you one. It’s one thing to post a selfie with the caption that includes #StopAsianHate, but to be actively supporting the movement is different. The most that your performative activism can do is hopefully inspire someone else who takes it upon themselves to be an active ally. Actively supporting the Asian community and the movement towards Asian acceptance could happen in a variety of ways. It could include showing up to rallies, making space for members of the Asian community or uplifting voices that others may not pay attention to without your help. Acknowledge your privilege, share your support and take action.

4. Support local Asian businesses

There’s no argument that the pandemic caused many small businesses to struggle, but some Asian-owned businesses more than others. Many of these businesses have been not only avoided but destroyed. There have been reported incidents of racial slurs spray-painted onto storefronts or glass windows shattered and items stolen. There is no better way to describe it than for everyone to love us the way you love our culture. Support your local Asian-owned businesses. Buy from them, leave positive reviews and share with others to encourage them to support the business too.

Although most anti-Asian crimes have occurred in major cities like New York or Los Angeles, we can all do our part to #StopAsianHate no matter where we live. Hate is a virus. Please continue to show up, step up and stand up for the Asian communities.

Melissa Huen

Wilfrid Laurier '22

Melissa is in her 4th year at Wilfrid Laurier University, studying Music Therapy with a minor in Psychology. When she's not busy raving about her hometown, Vancouver, BC, you can find her baking, travelling, or checking out the newest restaurants in town.
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