The City of Victoria has joined the lengthy list of Canadian cities in proclaiming May 10 Anti-Asian hate day.
Throughout the pandemic, there’s been a disturbing increase in hate crimes towards the Asian community, who have been wrongly vilified after it was discovered the COVID-19 virus originated in Wuhan, China.
While the majority of incidents in B.C. have happened in Vancouver, which recorded more Asian-hates crimes than any other North American City in 2020, Victoria has had incidents of its own.
“As a community we find any kind of racism offensive regardless of who it’s directed to,” said Victoria City Councillor and Chinese-Canadian Charlayne Thornton-Joe. “Luckily it’s not happening in Victoria as much, but we are seeing in other cities more racism towards Asians,”
Just last week, a man spat at and yelled racial slurs at an Asian woman and her children near Quadra Elementary School.
READ MORE: Rallies against Anti-Asian hate pop up across Canada
The idea for Anti-Asian hate day came from the Stand With Asians Coalition, which was founded on the Lower Mainland as more racist acts occurred.
Leader of the Victoria Chapter of the coalition, Isabella Lee, says the increase in racism has been undeniable since the pandemic began.
“It has made it so much worse for so many people across Canada. Even myself, I realized before school ended last year just the uncomfortableness people had around me because I was Asian, people just kind of moving further away.”
The coalition asked 1,000 different Canadian cities to make a proclamation for May 10. Thirty said yes, including Toronto, Edmonton, Victoria and Ottawa.
In Victoria, all events were held virtually. And while excited that progress is being made, Lee hopes the conversation will continue past Monday.
“I don’t think Asian hate or racism stops after one day it’s an on-going conversation that needs to happen so we hope to make this an annual event.”
May is also Asian Heritage Month.
Locals are encouraged to head to Chinatown and support businesses that have struggled through the pandemic, and to be an ally in a time when they need it most.