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Dean’s Statement on Anti-Asian Racism

Submitted on Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Dear Faculty of Information community,

We mourn the murder of eight people, including six women of Asian descent, on Tuesday, March 16 in Atlanta, Georgia: Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, and Yong Yue. We reaffirm our commitments to people of Asian descent, immigrant communities and undocumented people. This includes our students, staff, faculty, and alumni, many of whom work on anti-Asian racism in their research and community projects.

We condemn misogyny, violence against sex workers, and anti-Asian racism. We stand against violence of all kinds, particularly physical violence and gun violence. We acknowledge that violence against people of Asian descent is the effect of multiple colonialisms and imperialisms, and is simultaneously racialized, gendered, and sexualized. In separate studies, Statistics Canada and the Chinese Canadian National Council Toronto Chapter document an alarming rise in anti-Asian violence in Canada related to COVID-19 scapegoating in the past year, including racial slurs, discrimination, and physical assaults. Toronto has the second highest number of reported cases involving anti-Asian hate crimes in the country. Canada has a higher number of reported anti-Asian hate crime incidents per capita compared to the United States. Anti-Asian violence in Canada has a long and endemic history with deep roots in white supremacy, misogyny, and xenophobia. Canada’s history of state-sponsored anti-Asian violence includes head taxes, immigration bans, disenfranchisement, discriminatory labour laws, hiring exclusions, surveillance, riots, exclusion from medical care, and incarceration.

It is important to recognize that within this larger context of anti-Asian racism, last week’s violence specifically targeted Asian immigrants working at massage parlours and spas. Anti-sex trafficking laws and the criminalization of sex work escalates violence against and increases surveillance and policing of vulnerable groups: immigrants, women, migrants, and communities of colour. These policies do not address structural and labour abuses specific to sex work. Criminalization and policing exacerbate racialized, gendered, and sexualized violence. Decriminalization of immigration and sex work is a crucial step in expanding labour protections for all workers.

As a Faculty founded in the service of the public good, especially belonging and diversity in education, we reaffirm our commitment to confront violence against Asian, Black, immigrant, and Indigenous people. We reaffirm our commitment to driving research and teaching practices that transform systems of oppression. We recommit to ongoing efforts to improve our workplaces, teaching spaces, and research spaces.

Wendy Duff

Professor and Dean, Faculty of Information


We acknowledge the work other organizations have done and continue to do:

Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC), Atlanta: A Community-Centered Response to Violence Against Asian American Communities

Statement by Red Canary Song

CAAAV Condemns Atlanta Shootings and Anti-Asian Violence

Statement by the Association for Asian Studies

Statement by the Association of Asian American Studies

Joint Statement by the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice & Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic

The Asian Institute’s Resource Guide for Responding to Anti-Asian Racism

We acknowledge the work of sex worker and immigrant sex worker organizations:

Butterfly: Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Network

Migrant Sex Workers Project

Red Canary Song

Maggie’s Toronto

Pineapple Support Society

To learn more about anti-Asian racism in Canada, please consult:

Project 1907

Yu, Henry Shuen Ngei. (2016). “Asian Canadian History.” The Oxford Handbook of Asian American History, eds. David Yoo and Eiichiro Azuma. Oxford University Press.

History of Canada’s early Chinese immigrants,” Library & Archive Canada

Events in Asian Canadian History,” Government of Canada

University of Toronto wellness and learning supports:

Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office

Sexual and Gender Diversity Office

Health and Wellness

My Student Support Program (support available 24/7)

Community Safety Office

Employee and Family Assistance Program


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