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Responding to hate and violence against Asian Canadians

March 19, 2021

Dear RSJ students and community members,

We are deeply disturbed by the rise in violence and racist incidents against people of Asian descent in the Toronto area and across North America. 

We acknowledge the stress, frustration, anger and anguish currently being experienced by Pan-Asian and Asian-identifying communities and condemn these hate crimes. 

We also recognize the impact on you as student journalists who are engaged with the news coverage and have little choice to turn away. We offer our support to all students affected and encourage you to reach out individually to faculty if you feel comfortable. 

From 3-4:15 p.m. on Wednesday, March 24, faculty members Adrian Ma and Anita Li will lead RSJ Safe Space Forum on Anti-Asian Racism, a Zoom session for Pan-Asian and Asian-identifying RSJ students, faculty and staff to discuss ongoing events, to understand your needs and hear how we can better support you. Meeting details to follow.

The Atlanta shootings follow a spike in attacks against people of Asian descent across North America.  Recent research from a group of Asian Canadian organizations, external link reveals that Canada has a higher number of reports of anti-Asian racism per capita than the United States; out of more than 600 incidents, about 60 per cent impacted women and 30 per cent were classified as physical attacks. Even these numbers may not reflect the many invisible forms of violence and discrimination experienced by Pan-Asian and Asian-identifying communities, heightened in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In collaboration with Asian Canadian leaders, Ryerson University has developed a Responding to Hate Toolkit to help those who are victims of or witness to racially motivated hate or discrimination. 

The trauma and grief that these events cause is real. Ryerson’s Centre for Student Development & Counselling offers free confidential counselling services for those in need and all Ryerson students can access 24/7 mobile counselling or crisis support with Keep.meSAFE using the MySSP app (iOS, external link and Android, external link). 

For students looking for resources on reporting stories about either the Atlanta shootings or about hate crimes directed at Pan-Asian and Asian-Canadian communities, we would like to refer you to the guidance put out by the Asian American Journalists Association, external link, which includes direction on language, context, sourcing, as well as support for your fellow students and colleagues. There is also an additional resource for newsrooms and journalists in relation to exercising care over coverage of COVID-19 stories, external link.

This is a challenging time for us as a school and as a community and we are stronger if we stand together in the face of racism, misogyny and hate.