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Statement of solidarity with the Asian community at Queen’s

May is Asian Heritage Month. While the Government of Canada has proclaimed Asian Heritage Month as a time to recognize the contributions of Canadians of Asian descent, it has also been called a time to stand in solidarity against anti-Asian racism and hate. This year’s theme is "Recognition, Resilience, and Resolve" – and it speaks to the struggles that the Asian community has faced both over the past year and historically. During the COVID-19 pandemic there has been a rise in anti-Asian racism across the country. This has deeply impacted the safety and well-being of Asian Canadians. The Faculty of Health Sciences stands in solidarity with learners, faculty, and staff of Asian descent.

Incidents of racism, including violent ones, have stirred up a number of emotions in Asian Canadians. In solidarity, as allies, colleagues, teachers, coworkers and friends, we can acknowledge this fear and distress and provide our unequivocal support. We need to be reminded that though we may think that it won’t happen here, “not in our city” and “not in our faculty,” it does. It has affected learners in the clinical setting. Learners of Asian background have described both off-hand discriminatory comments and being made to feel unwelcome while working with patients. Hearing about our students experiencing this is never easy, and conversations around this can be difficult.

Educating oneself can be the best place to start if one is not sure how to act or how to help.

Learning about the diversity across Asian communities and the unique identities of Asian cultures is one way to take action. Being an ally and calling out racism and supporting those who are affected is another way to show solidarity.

Anti-Asian racism is neither a thing of the past or simply a manifestation occurring in the pandemic. If we see it affecting our students and co-workers, we can help. The Faculty of Health Sciences is committed to a learning and working environment where every person is safe, included, and welcomed.

To Asian students, staff and faculty, we are aware of the issues of anti-Asian hate that are ongoing, and we agree that Asian Heritage Month is an opportunity to commit to action against this. #YouBelong at Queen’s.

If you are interested in learning more, or if you are in need of support please reach out to Dr. Mala Joneja, Director Diversity and Equity School of Medicine and Faculty Representative Dean’s Action Table on EDI.

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