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A Love Letter to My Asian Communities Amidst COVID-19 Racism

Updated: May 14, 2022

I want to acknowledge the heaviness and sadness that I feel, hearing about the recent violence experienced by the Asian communities. Though some racists have characterized COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus,” we know racists don’t have nuance, and will target East and Southeast Asians indiscriminately.

The COVID-19 racism has started much earlier than this. Before physical distancing even began, there has been a racist boycott of Asian businesses and Toronto’s Chinatown. As if the COVID-19 virus would only infect you if you enter into Spadina and Dundas.

If you have experienced racism, or is fearful of being a target, I want you to know that your feelings are valid, and you're not alone. You have done nothing wrong. How people react to you is their issue. It says nothing about your worth as a person. We got your back. The community’s got your back. You’re not alone. And we’ll get through this together.

At the moment of writing this, I am feeling pain and sadness. I’m feeling pain, knowing all those out there who has been attacked – verbally, physically, or both. I’m feeling the pain of knowing that some of you out there are fearful to leave the house. I’m especially feeling the pain of knowing so many Asian businesses has closed down or are struggling, because the racist boycott has started before physical distancing even began. I’m feeling the pain of those who has precarious status, who always falls through the gaps of governmental supports, and is fearful of their livelihood and residency. I want you to know I see you, and the community sees you.

While mask-wearing has been normalized in many Asian countries, there is still stigma over here in Canada. If you feel unsafe wearing masks, because you fear it makes you a target, it is ok not to wear them. However, if wearing masks make you feel safer, then definitely wear them. If you are wearing them to protect others (because anyone can be asymptomatic), keep wearing them. If you think you look cute in your beautifully designed mask, then especially keep wearing them. Asians know what’s up. We know why we wear masks. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

If you experience racism, take care of yourself, and reach out to your supports. You can file an incident report with Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter (CCNCTO). Click here for the link to the incident report. They welcome submissions from across Canada, from anyone who has experienced or witnessed an incident. The information will help CCNCTO better support the community in their advocacy work.

These are unprecedented times. And we are joining together to support each other. When this is all over, I urge us not to forget these trying times. We need to continue our work as a community, to support not just Asians, but all other communities who also experience oppression.

I love you all. Stay safe out there. We will meet again, when this is all over.

As always, thanks for tuning in. If you found this helpful, consider sharing this with others who might also find it helpful.

Take care, and keep being you!


I’m always open to your feedback and comments. If you, or someone you know, may benefit from my therapy support, you can contact me here for a free consultation. For more information, click here.

Harry Au

Therapy for Asians

MSW, RSW | he/him

Resources: Newsletter | Blog

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