I am angered and disheartened to learn about a recent hate crime against an Asian-Canadian owned business at Gerrard Street East and Ontario Street.
I have spoken to the Superintendent of 51 Division at the Toronto Police Service, who informs me that graffiti vandalism was reported on the side of the building and that it contained racial slurs directed against the Asian community.
In January 2020, even before the global pandemic had been declared, I joined community leaders from the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice and its Toronto Chapter, the Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic, and others along with Dr. Eileen deVilla, Mayor Tory, and City Councillors to urge Torontonians – and Canadians at large – to avoid falling into racist rhetoric and fear-mongering. Unfortunately, across Canada, and the world, incidents of anti-Asian hate are rising. We know these racist attacks can have deadly consequences, as we have recently seen with the Atlanta-area mass shooting.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Asian Canadians and other minorities have seen a rise in racist hostility and attacks because of ignorance and fear. Often these attacks, whether verbal or physical, are not reported because even when they are, they are not considered hate crimes. When these incidents occur, we must be bold in the face of white supremacy, racist, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, and Islamophobic violence.
If we are truly committed to ending racism and racial discrimination, then we must take action to address racialized, gendered violence, and hate.
To the community members who have been directly impacted, and to all Asian Canadians who are being threatened and harmed, I stand with you in love and solidarity.
In this matter, I want to thank the officers at 51 Division and the Toronto Police Service who are investigating this hate-motivated incident seriously. They’re asking anyone who may have security camera video in the area to contact Toronto Police Services Non-Emergency line at 416-808-2222 or Crimestoppers at 416-222-TIPS.