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Stop anti-Asian racism now

Publish date: Wednesday, March 24, 2021 update

image of a makeshift memorial with sign #StopAsianHate and AMAPCEO President Dave Bulmer

I know I’m not the only one sickened by the news of the shooting in Atlanta, Georgia, which resulted in eight murders—six of whom were Asian women.

I want our Asian members to know AMAPCEO stands in solidarity with you. We know this has been a tough week and an even longer year. You are not alone.

The Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) may be of help for confidential and immediate support for your health and well-being. And our union’s Asian, Arab, and Latinx Caucus is hopefully a place you can find more community and connection, especially during these times.

We have a shared responsibility to eliminate hatred and racism of all kinds.

Though the most sensational of these acts most often occur south of our border, instances of mistreatment here are real and pervasive. Across Canada, incidents of hate crimes have risen dramatically since the start of the pandemic, including here in Ontario. Research suggests that Canada has a higher number of racism reports per Asian capita than the United States, and that women continue to be disproportionately impacted. These are only the reported incidents.

We know that discrimination and racist attitudes persist and affect the lives of Asian people around us, even if words are left unspoken.

The Asian diaspora is broad and diverse, and so are their lived experiences. From hurtful assumptions about class to disgusting conspiracy theories or outright violence, it is important that we stand up to all racism—whether subtle or obvious.

In our workplaces, we have made progress towards equity, but we must continue to fight discrimination on the job. AMAPCEO has recently launched a workplace policy advocacy campaign to improve anti-racism plans in the Ontario Public Service, for example.

If you experience or witness xenophobic behaviour or practices at work, please:

  • make note of the date, time, and people involved, and any witnesses; and
  • talk confidentially to a Workplace Representative in your unit.

Even if you are not interested in pursuing action at the time, having a record of the instance can help you if future situations arise.

Within our union, we are also doing more to advance equity and inclusion. Working with the Equity Committee, AMAPCEO has launched an Equity Lens—a practical tool to help all of us be consistent and deliberate in moving this work forward. It has since been rolled out to staff, and we are in the process of implementing it within our various activist groups.

You may also be interested in taking our free online course “Equity & Inclusion: Activate Your Power!” It introduces equity terms and principles and what you can do to help bring our union’s Equity Statement to life. This one-hour course is available to every signed AMAPCEO member through our education portal. You can access it by signing in at amapceo.on.ca/go/education-portal. You must have completed the “AMAPCEO: My Union” course first.

Outside of the workplace, if you witness a situation where someone is experiencing disrespect—or worse—please determine if you can safely offer support to a victim or find someone who can. Hollaback, an organization dedicated to ending street harassment, is offering bystander intervention training specifically focussing on issues faced by Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders.

We regularly promote Asian observances and celebrations in Member News and when I have the pleasure of attending these events I am amazed with the beautiful diversity of cultures in the Asian diaspora. I encourage you to support Asian-led business in your community, to take part in the many festive events that occur annually, and to truly get to know the many cultures.

I know that together, we can reject racism, counter lies and misinformation, and work even harder to ensure our communities are safer for everyone.
 

More about AMAPCEO and our Members: Established in 1992, AMAPCEO is a bargaining agent that represents 14,000 professional and supervisory public servants, most of whom work directly for the Government of Ontario in every ministry and in a number of agencies, boards and commissions; in 130 communities throughout Ontario and in 12 cities outside Canada. We also represent employees outside the Ontario Public Service in: the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario; the Ontario Arts Council; Ontario Health (Quality Unit); Public Health Ontario; the Waypoint Mental Health Centre in Penetanguishene; and in the former Offices of the Ontario Child Advocate and the French Language Services Commissioner (now part of the Ontario Ombudsman).