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OCAD U President: We share the collective grief of Asian members in our community

As we head into the weekend, I wanted to take the time to acknowledge that many within our community are reeling from the violent attacks in Atlanta, Georgia where eight people were murdered, most of them Asian women.

This has happened within the context of an alarming rise in violence against Asian communities in Canada and the United States. We must also see this tragedy within a broader societal context that perpetuates stereotypes and sexual objectification of Asian women, and dehumanizes one of the most marginalized groups in our society, sex workers. 

To the Asian members of our community, we share your collective and profound grief, and we acknowledge the acute harm this is having now and since the pandemic began with people making racist comments about the origin of the virus.

In Canada, acts of racially-motivated violence against Asian communities are on the rise. For example, earlier this year, the Vancouver Police Department reported a 717 per cent increase over last year in anti-Asian hate crimes. Equally disconcerting, racialized communities in Canada have seen a surge in harassment or violence based on race since COVID began. Yet another report shows that American women report hate incidents 2.3 times more than men.

What this recent tragedy shows us, in addition to the rise in anti-Black hate crimes, is that we must work together with vigilance to combat racism and discrimination in our society, and contribute to broadening social attitudes about gender, sex and sexuality that normalize violence against women.

OCAD University reaffirms its commitment to addressing all forms of racism and discrimination, and we recognize that harassment and discrimination violate an individual’s human rights and run contrary to the University’s fundamental values. As a community, we pride ourselves in actively fostering an environment that is inclusive and a culture that is kind and generous.

So, let us all do what we need to do to support ourselves, our friends, communities and each other as we process the events of this week.

Take care and stay safe. 

Ana Serrano
President and Vice-Chancellor
OCAD University