Presentation in Halifax suggests ways to tackle anti-Asian racism
Calls were made for better data collection and more awareness campaigns at a committee meeting in Halifax on Monday, where anti-Asian racism was discussed.
Christine Qin Yang, Deputy Chair of the Halifax Regional Municipality Women’s Advisory Committee, made a presentation to the permanent executive committee.
Qin Yang told committee members that between February 2020 and March 2021, 1,550 anti-Asian incidents were reported across Canada and 59% of them were directed against women.
She believes many other incidents go unreported.
“Due to language barriers, immigration status and the fact that many of them are verbal attacks, verbal attacks are not considered a hate crime,” Qin Yang said.
Qin Yang said she couldn’t provide numbers for Halifax because police here don’t collect data based on race or gender.
But Mayor Mike Savage said incidents were happening here. He told the committee he received a letter in March 2020 from a woman whose Chinese daughter was accused of bringing the COVID-19 virus to Canada.
“It was very moving to read this letter about someone who was doing essential work at the time and being approached that way. It happens,” said Savage.
Deputy Mayor Tim Outhit said the situation made him sad.
“But we’ll definitely see this as a call to action,” Outhit said.
Qin Yang said other places, such as New York and Toronto, have implemented toolkits to raise awareness of anti-Asian racism and encourage people to report the incidents.
“New York has launched a Stop Asian Hate toolkit, in 22 Asian languages. I find it very useful, ”said Qin Yang.
She pointed out that nearly 75% of incidents reported across Canada took place in public spaces such as parks and on public transportation.
Following a March shooting in Atlanta, where six Asian Americans were killed, HRM executive director Jacques Dubé sent an internal memo to employees about anti-Asian racism.
Dubé said Qin Yang’s recommendations will be taken into account.