Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart has declared that this Friday, May 29, will be a “Day of Action Against Racism.”
The proclamation was issued on Thursday and is part of a province-wide campaign to encourage individuals, businesses, community organizations, and associations to rise up against racism.
“As a city, we need to unite to address racism and recognize that people of all ethnicities, cultures and faiths contribute to Vancouver’s strength and well-being,” reads a statement from the City of Vancouver.
The city has seen a rise in racist and xenophobic incidents since the pandemic began, especially towards the Asian community. Earlier this month, the Vancouver Police Department reported an increase in anti-Asian hate crimes, with 77 incidents reported to date, an increase from 51 during the same time period in 2019.
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“I have heard, during the town halls and in general from the community, that targeted xenophobia and anti-Asian racism is making it even more of a struggle for people to cope with the impacts of the pandemic,” says City Manager Sadhu Johnston. “We are committed to ensuring that every resident feels welcome in Vancouver and will continue to take action, both during the pandemic and beyond, to address racist behaviour.”
Mayor Stewart adds that he had a meeting with “leaders from the Asian community and allied organizations” to discuss these matters earlier this week. The City of Vancouver has also established an “Equity and Inclusion team” and has provided funds to the Chinatown Business Improvement Association to increase security in the area.
Just two days ago, the Vancouver Police Department arrested a man after a racist incident that involved smashing the window of a vehicle with two Asian women inside.
Premier John Horgan has been vocal in addressing the rise in racist activity, saying that everyone has the right to “live without fear of violence or discrimination” and that the recent crimes are “disturbing.”