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Statement on Anti-Asian Racism

April 6, 2021

Misplaced fear and ignorance feeds racism, today and yesterday. Growing up in British Columbia, the history of anti-Asian racism in that Province is not only in the past. My parents grew up in a Canada where Chinese Canadians couldn’t swim in Victoria’s Crystal Pool, and were segregated by school boards and cinemas. Nor could they become doctors or lawyers back then, in B.C.. Or vote. Japanese Canadians would be interned during WWII like foreign invaders, simply for their ancestry. Fast forward to this century: after 911, CCLA came to the defence of South Asians facing the confused racism conflating anti-terrorism with anti-Islam, ignorantly presuming Arabic Al-Qaeda in every brown face. Fast forward to the present: in 2019, our intervention in a racial profiling case changed the law in R. v. Le (involving one Asian and four Black men), where we stood shoulder to shoulder with the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers, and the Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic. We stand ready to deploy our counsel to do more during this ugly resurgence of anti-Asian racism.

Michael Bryant, Executive Director, CCLA

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