We acknowledge and honour the activism of people of Asian descent in their fight for human rights and social justice. Their ongoing struggles against multiple forms of oppression have been instrumental in strengthening our labour movement and our communities.

Some of those struggles included resistance against the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Head Tax; the denial of the right to vote or to run for public office; the exploitation of Chinese railway workers; the internment of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War; and the Komagata Maru incident which led to challenges to the federal government’s racist “continuous journey regulation” policy. These struggles are historical, but anti-Asian racism is still present today.

COVID-19 has amplified anti-Asian racism. The current pandemic has been made worse by xenophobia, increased feelings of isolation, exclusion, and hate.   Asian communities have reported an increase in racism and discrimination since the beginning of the pandemic. These experiences are also layered with misogyny and sexism. According to data analyzed by the grassroots Asian community group project1907.org and the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter (CCNCTO), women have been most impacted by the spike in anti-Asian racism in Canada, reporting 64 per cent of incidents.

These unwelcomed and unwanted acts of violence need to stop.

For Asian Heritage Month, CUPE reminds members that we are here to support you through any experience of racism in your workplace, union, and community. CUPE encourages members to act against racism, xenophobia, misogyny, sexism, ableism, and all forms of discrimination and oppression today, tomorrow, and always.

Organize

  • Ensure that labour legislation in Canada recognizes and protects all migrant workers through genuine labour standards such as living wages, safe and healthy working conditions, and basic human rights.
  • Call on the federal government to build and promote a fair and equitable society for all through education, justice, employment, and public policy.

Act

  • Celebrate Asian Heritage Month in your local – share on social media, organize lunch-and-learns and screen videos.
  • Speak out against racism and misinformation.
  • Raise awareness in yourself and others. Learn about the 5 Ds for Bystander Intervention (distract, delegate, document, delay, and direct).
  • Follow and join Migrant Rights Network in taking action to ensure justice for all migrant workers, including ones of Asian descent.