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A surge of attacks in one of Canada’s most multicultural cities is surfacing long-simmering racial tensions. Vancouver is known as one of the most Asian cities outside Asia where 25% of the residents speak a Chinese language.  However, the past year has seen a 700% increase in anti-Asian racism incidents.  More anti-Asian hate crimes were reported to police in Vancouver than in the top 10 most populous US cities combined.

Last Monday was declared a Day of Action Against Anti-Asian Racism.  With almost 50% of residents of Asian descent in BC experiencing a hate incident in the past year, we are confronting an undercurrent of racism that runs long and deep. It is a history that includes the 1885 Chinese Head Tax, 1923 Chinese Exclusion Act and 1942 Japanese internment camps. For more information on the history of anti-Asian racism, download the book,  Challenging Racist “British Columbia”. The booklet, co-published by the CCPA-BC Office, ties the histories of racism and resistance to present day anti-racist movements.

Locally, a new coalition founded by a Burnaby woman committed to stopping anti-Asian racism, organized small group rallies across the Lower Mainland.  In  April, she founded the Stand With Asians Coalition (SWAC) after hearing that there was a 350% increase in incidents of anti-Asian racism in Burnaby related to the pandemic. SWAC is currently a community of over 1,700 people that raises awareness to combat anti-Asian racism and to foster inclusiveness. Learn more on their facebook page

We also need to look at anti-racism through a wider lens. We need to recognize that all forms of hate in public spaces create unsafe conditions for members of all racialized communities.  For example, we are hearing of companies, organizations and communities doing work around JEDI that is justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. These are more than just buzzwords, they represent concepts, themes, and actions and truly involve representing the interest of all people. This is a much more complex issue and conversations that we need to foster and be part of in our communities. We will be exploring JEDI and also critical race theory in future blogs.

What comments do our members have on anti-racism?  Do you feel that Vancouver has lost its image as a progressive multicultural city with our increasing anti-racism incidents?  Add your comments to the blog.


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Anti-Asian racism has increased significantly during the pandemic. In BC, there have been more violent incidents and hate crimes directed towards individuals who appear to be of Asian descent. There have also been many instances of microaggressions, hostile attitudes, and racist comments during what is for all of us, an already frightening and stressful time.


The release of the booklet called, Challenging Racist British Columbia: 150 Years and Counting, is co-published by CCPA BC and timely in light of recent events. They document how this recent cycle of anti-racist activism is part of a broader history of Indigenous, Black and other racialized communities challenging white supremacy – particularly since 1871 when BC joined Canada.  Unfortunately, the past 150 years of history in BC has embedded systemic racism in our society and institutions. 


The book also recognizes those people who have been doing the work of anti-racism and anti-colonialism in BC for the past 150 years. They say that these historical figures are presented not as addendums to our provincial history—they are its history. 


Challenging racism is a complex issue as we need to work on both ourselves and on our society.  The book says, “the work is to dismantle our own inequities, racism and lack of diversity; and work together transcending privilege and transforming our institutions.”  We all need to rethink where we've come from, and where we want to go in terms of racial equality. 


The booklet is available free - click here to download a PDF - and there will be more resources available to support learning and teaching the histories of racism, resistance and present day anti-racist movements.  You can also click here to register for a virtual Book Launch on March 21 at 3:00pm PST. The event takes place on the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination whose theme this year is youth standing up against racism. 


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Internet provider discontinues service in Haida Gwaii - Aug. 19.  The COVID-19 crisis has brought into sharper focus a digital divide that is both socioeconomic and geographic. As our lives have shifted to online, many of us take for granted our internet connection and the access that comes with it. The Internet is considered a basic service, but there are too many people who don’t have accessible, inclusive and affordable service.


A Digital Divide is a difference in access to technology between nations, regions and people based on demographic factors such as income, race and age.  One year ago, we wrote a blog on the Digital Divide and its importance to our communities. The crisis has highlighted how essential an internet connection is to daily life - to earn a living, to access mental health resources, or to apply for benefits - and why it’s unacceptable that one in 10 Canadian families do not have a home internet connection.  


Racialized, low-income people are being hardest hit by the Divide. With COVID, it has become more difficult for marginalized populations to stay connected to their social and community support networks.  This is not only in remote areas or on Indigenous lands but here in Vancouver. The Binners Project in the Downtown Eastside, for example, had to change its weekly meeting to phone calls. Most Binners, who do not have access to the internet or a cellular phone, felt more disconnected and lonely as many still are not employed.


Internet access is expensive both as a customer and for the service providers. Many rural, remote, and Indigenous communities don’t have access to a good connection due to the costs to service a small number of people. A town with a population of 14,000 reports that it can take at least 2 hours to download large files like homework.  Teachers with slow or no access are wondering how they will provide online learning for their students. ACORN reports that more than one third of Canadians have to make sacrifices to afford home internet, like forgoing spending on transit or even food.


The Province included internet and telecommunications in the list of services that must continue to be delivered during the pandemic, describing these services as “essential to preserving life, health, public safety and basic societal functioning.”  Home internet is used for vital life activities and at the same time remains unaffordable and inaccessible.  Let’s support a Just Recovery where all British Columbians have access to high speed internet. 


Please share your comments with our members.


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Rooted in social justice values—like human dignity and freedom, fairness, equality, solidarity, environmental sustainability, and the public good—and a strong belief in the power of participatory democracy, CCPA released its’ 25th edition of the Alternative Federal Budget (AFB) Recovery Plan. 


It is time to put human rights, labour, environmental protection, anti-poverty, arts and culture, social development, child development, international development, women, Indigenous peoples, the faith-based community, students, teachers, education, and health care workers at the forefront of policy planning and decision-making. 


2020 is  a critical turning point, a year in which the systems that sustain our societies failed. Greenhouse gas emissions dropped, highlighting the irrefutable link between how we live and climate change. Globally, billions of lives have been disrupted, more than half a million lives lost.


In Canada, we are guilty of racial, ethnic, and Indigenous injustices. The inequities that were baked into our systems have been exposed and exacerbated by COVID-19.  We need investments in a just, equitable and sustainable recovery and to fix many areas of public policy. 


The AFB Recovery Plan identifies the following immediate action items: implement universal public child care so people can get back to work, reform employment insurance, strengthen safeguards for public health, decarbonize the economy, and tackle the inequalities in gender, race and income. 

The Plan includes an analysis of key areas being impacted by COVID-19 including affordable housing and homelessness.  We know that when eviction bans are lifted, more households will be on the brink of homelessness.  Also, the closure of daytime services and public spaces offering washroom facilities and internet access created challenges for those who depend on these shared services.  

We need to increase our social housing stock and in Barcelona they are doing this by seizing empty apartments.  The city told the property owners to fill the vacant rental units with tenants or they would take over their properties. The landowners have one month to comply. Would or could our city government be willing to take such bold action? 

At CCEC, we work to reduce barriers to open a bank account and to provide equitable and just access to financial services. We know this is our chance to bend the curve of public policy toward justice, well-being, solidarity, equity, resilience, and sustainability.  Learn more and read the CCPA Alternative Federal Budget Report to build healthier communities where no one is left behind. 

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There is a stark racial divide in our country. Our current system is tailored towards supporting and protecting white supremacy and catering to white fragility. We need to address how the institutions that govern our lives have internalized and implemented racism. 


“The system perpetuates racism, gender inequities, fragmentation of social and ecological systems, and weakens efforts of the many individuals, organizations and agencies to achieve deep and meaningful truth and reconciliation between IBPOC and settler society.” says  Dawn Morrison, Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty and CCEC Board Member. 


We hear about white privilege, class privilege, and institutional privilege. We need to acknowledge that racism can look like hate, and show up as apathy, silence, ignorance and in the refusal to learn. Most recently, we’ve seen an increase in the number of anti-Asian acts of hate and violence. Systemic racism is complex. It has evolved out of a set of deeply rooted systems in our country. 


One thing we can do is to learn more about systemic racism and how to confront it  when we see it. Being silent is not an option.  In the last three months, there has been an eight-fold increase in anti-Asian hate crimes that included punching, subtle words and dirty looks; and we’ve opened a conversation about systemic racism in policing systems. For example,  Anti-Racism training (A.R.T) is available that helps participants shift from being  frozen/silent bystanders to becoming active witnesses during racist encounters. 


In Canada, we have an  Anti-Racism Strategy 2019-2022 called, Building a Foundation for Change.  The strategies outlined intend to help address barriers to employment, justice and social participation among Indigenous Peoples, racialized communities and religious minorities. In BC, the Organizing Against Race and Hate program was recently replaced with ResilienceBC Anti-Racism Network 


We can all do our part. Learn more and get involved. 


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