The School of Social Work at Carleton University denounces racism against people of Asian descent that has been on the rise in Canada and the US since the outbreak of COVID-19.  On a per capita basis, Canada has reported more anti-Asian incidents than the United States, and almost 30 percent of these incidents involve assaults, such as physical violence or spitting.  In Ottawa, anti-Asian hate crimes are reported to have increased by 600 percent over last year.  We recognize that people of Asian descent experience discrimination, harassment and threats of violence on a daily basis.  We also recognize that anti-Asian racism is nothing new; it is historically rooted in Canada’s economic, political and social structures, and embedded in institutional practices.  Dating back to the 1800s, Canadians of Asian descent experienced racism and discrimination, including but not limited to the exploitation of Chinese workers in the construction of the transcontinental railway (1880s), the Chinese Exclusion Act (1923), and Internment of Japanese Canadians (1942).  As a professional school of social work, we have an obligation to understand, and learn from, negative and troubling aspects of our past, and work towards social justice and human rights for all peoples.  With this in mind, we stand in solidarity with Asian communities in Ottawa, and beyond.

Our hearts and thoughts are with Asian members of our community as we all mourn the deaths of 8 people, 6 of whom were Asian women.  The violent attack against Asian women is rooted in anti-Asian racism and misogyny.  The School of Social Work stands in solidarity with members of the Asian diaspora in this difficult moment.  We recognize that this has been a heartbreaking time for people of Asian descent and other racialized communities.

The School reaffirms the important role that social workers can and must play in fighting racism and discrimination in all their many practice settings and in communities.

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