Kitchener resident working to raise awareness of anti-Asian racism

A Kitchener blogger is working to raise awareness about anti-Asian racism with a new fundraiser.

Jannell Lo says it pains her to think of anti-Asian sentiments being shared in the community, and that this topic isn’t being discussed in Waterloo Region.

“There are racist comments and slurs being said, mainly in downtown Kitchener, when my friends and I are just walking around,” she said. “It’s just disheartening and I wish it just didn’t exist here.”

Lo adds that, with the passing of the one-year mark of the pandemic, incidents aren’t going away.

“It’s always been there, unfortunately,” she said. “The start of COVID-19 really perpetuated stereotypes and this form of xenophobia that people have.”

Lo has launched a fundraiser called ‘Dump the Hate’ that donates proceeds to organizations that support the Asian community.

“I don’t think it’s being talked about within the region,” she said. “That’s why I wanted to raise awareness with my campaign.”

In a statement, the Region of Waterloo says they’ve formed an 11-member Anti-Racism Advisory Working group to inform council on equity, diversity, and inclusion.

“The region has committed $15 million over to two years to improve the economic, social, and cultural health and wellness of Indigenous, Black, and other racialized communities,” the statement reads in part.

Teresa Woo-Paw, the chair of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, points to stats by the Angus Reid Institute as a clear indicator that anti-Asian racism has been a painful experience for many in Canada.

“They surveyed 500 Chinese Canadians and over 60 per cent of the people have experienced some sort of discrimination,” she said.

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