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There is no place for anti-Asian discrimination and racism in the Ryerson community

March 22, 2021

On Tuesday, March 16, a 21-year-old white man entered a number of businesses in and around Atlanta, Georgia, fatally shooting eight people and injuring one. The deceased have been identified as Daoyou Feng (44), Delaina Ashley Yaun (33), Hyun Jung Grant (51), Paul Andre Michels (54), Soon C. Park (74), Suncha Kim (69), Xiaojie Tan (49) and Yong A. Yue (63). Six of the eight were Asian American women, four of Korean descent and two of Chinese descent. 

We mourn their loss and condemn racist and misogynistic acts of violence against women. The man arrested for their murders intended to target businesses predominantly staffed by Asian American women. It is evident that race, gender and anti-sex-work sentiment were motivating factors.

This mass shooting occurred in the context of an alarming increase in anti-Asian hate crimes and acts of racism toward Asian people in North America since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Statistics Canada, external link reports that visible minorities who experienced an increase in harassment or attacks based on their race, ethnicity or skin colour have tripled since the start of the pandemic, with the largest increase seen among people of Chinese, Korean and Southeast Asian descent. 

These attacks are predominantly gendered in nature, with East and Southeast Asian women disproportionately targeted. According to Project 1907 and data combined by Elimin8hate, external link and Fight COVID Racism, external link (an initiative funded by the Government of Canada that is dedicated to tracking and reporting anti-Asian racism and xenophobia), 60 per cent of incidents were reported by women, with East Asians reporting the highest number of racist incidents at 83 per cent. In BC, women are even more disproportionately impacted, accounting for nearly 70 per cent of all reported incidents.

We call on our community not only to honour the lives of the victims, but to take action towards addressing the roots of white supremacy that disproportionately impact Black, Indigenous, Asian and other racialized communities. Racist and violent harassment must be combatted and stopped.

We encourage all community members to review the Responding to Hate Toolkit on combatting anti-Asian racism. The information can increase awareness of what is happening and empower each of us to take action to confront racism, hate and discrimination in ourselves and our communities. The guide also includes a list of resources and organizations that provide advocacy and support.

To Asian and Asian Canadian students, faculty and staff at Ryerson, we rise with you. We acknowledge the detrimental effects that an attack like this can have on your mental wellbeing and sense of safety. Please reach out to the counselling resources available. Students can turn to the Centre for Student Development and Counselling for counselling support or to Consent Comes First for gender-based violence support. Employees are supported through the Employee and Family Assistance Program. All Ryerson community members are encouraged to contact Human Rights Services with any human rights-related concerns, questions or complaints of discrimination and harassment, whether in person or online.

As a leader in equity, diversity and inclusion, Ryerson University cannot be complacent. We must come together as a community, united and vigilant, and act on our values. We must hold each other accountable for the racism and misogyny that motivate these violent acts. Last, we must take collective responsibility to be positive, galvanizing forces against white supremacy and the ongoing legacy of colonization and slavery in Canada. Remember: None of us are free until all of us are free. 

Dr. Denise O’Neil Green
Vice-President, Equity and Community Inclusion

Julia Shin Doi
General Counsel and Secretary of the Board of Governors and University Privacy Officer and Chair, Ryerson Advisory Committee to Combat Anti-Asian Racism