(Doris Mah/Facebook)

(Doris Mah/Facebook)

Rallies against anti-Asian racism to mark national day of action, virtually and in-person

Doris Mah wants all levels of government to take action

A series of small in-person rallies and a Zoom event are scheduled to take place Monday (May 10) for the National Day of Action Against Anti-Asian Racism.

The event was organized by Doris Mah, a Burnaby woman who was shocked to hear of an Asian women assaulted at a Safeway just five blocks away, where Mah herself shopped regularly.

So Mah took action. She went to speak to Burnaby Mayor Mike Hurley, and the city proclaimed May 10 the Day of Action Against Asian Racism. But Mah was just getting started. She reached out to 1,000 cities across Canada and heard back from 100. Of those, 30 agreed to declare a day of action against anti-Asian racism on May 10.

Mah said she was shocked when cities even as far away as Toronto agreed.

“I’m not a politician – I’m just one person from a city named Burnaby which is not even well known in Ontario,” she said.

But with the cities also came the support of more than eight million Canadians.

“It’s an unbelievable amount of support that has shown that people want to do something about it,” Mah told Black Press Media by phone.

“I think people need to channel their support into something that they can do.”

The number one thing that Mah hopes that Monday’s day of action impresses upon Canadians is that there is no room for racism in their communities.

“And number two, racism is a learned experience. We have to unlearn, intentionally unlearn what we’ve learned. And so education and awareness is very important,” she said.

Mah said that many Asian immigrants, especially the first generations, do not feel like they can report racism.

“We wanted to tell the people who experienced racism in a very overt or covert way that it’s okay, it is absolutely acceptable for them to come out and say that,” she said.

“If you experience workplace discrimination, what do you do? You just keep your head down.”

Others, Mah said, fear bringing shame to their families.

“In our culture – in a lot of people cultures – you don’t show people’s dirty laundry. It doesn’t it doesn’t bring honour to your family.”

Luckily, that is changing in the younger generations.

“A lot of the movement right now, driven by second and thirds generations of young millennial Asians because they are angry, ” Mah said, seeing “images of somebody like their father and grandfather, their grandmother and mother being harassed like this.”

The movement Mah started has been supported by everyone from everyday Canadians, to labour unions to the B.C. Teachers’ Federation. Mah said that for her, seeing support from teachers hit on an especially personal level. The union pledged to go beyond teaching children to not be racist, committing to being “actively and deliberately antiracist.”

“I have three kids and the racism and discrimination is very real,” she said.

“This means the whole world to me as a parent.”

TheNational Day of Action Against Anti-Asian Racism will be marked by a series of rallies at SkyTrain stations across Metro Vancouver. The rallies will each be small, with no more than five people all wearing masks, but a larger Zoom event will be held at 5 p.m. To register, click here.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

racism

Just Posted

Victoria police are looking for the owner of a pink and white bike they recovered in North Park. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Victoria police searching for owner of child’s bike

Officers recovered the pink and white bike in North Park

A single-vehicle incident impacted the morning commute on the Pat Bay Highway. (Black Press Media file photo)
TRAFFIC: Single-vehicle incident closes section of Pat Bay

Northbound traffic down to one lane, southbound reopened

A report on food security in Sooke reveals that nearly 15 per cent of people in Sooke have trouble getting food on the table. (The Canadian Press)
Food security a growing challenge in Sooke

‘This isn’t going to get any better if we don’t do anything about it’

Four residents and two cats were displaced from their home in James Bay when a fire broke out Sunday afternoon. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)
No injuries in James Bay house fire

Fire broke out at about 2 p.m. Sunday

Construction will begin soon on a building in Victoria designed for families and seniors with low to moderate household incomes. (Black Press Media file photo)
New building in Victoria aimed at providing more affordable homes for families, seniors

Four-storey building will provide 58 homes for residents with low to moderate household incomes

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read