It pains me to think of the casual and overt racism my parents (pictured above, owners of King Noodle House Pho Hoang in Edmonton, Alberta) have experienced—but could not act on, as they tried to fit in as model minority immigrants in Canada, or simply because their English wasn’t strong enough to rebut.
Sometimes I think it’s better they aren’t as versed in the language so they aren’t as impacted by racist, xenophobic or stereotypical remarks but I also know even though they may not understand the words, they have *felt* the hate. You feel it.
Recently, I’ve been reflecting on Asian racism I’ve long brushed aside—when people confuse me with another Asian woman, when people make jokes about how we all look the same, that we eat weird food, when people pronounce my last name wrong, and pandemic jokes too.
These all feel like small things, especially compared to the violent acts that have occurred against BIPOC communities—especially recent attacks on the Asian community. But they swell.
Hate crimes against Asian-Canadians have increased 600-700% since the start of the pandemic compared to the previous year. (CTV News Source) Some people truly blame Asians for the pandemic. Letting casual racism pass leads to increasingly overt and violent acts.
You can’t cherry pick what aspects of a culture you love or support. All people should be valued and should feel safe regardless of (the list is long). And absolutely no one should be targeted because of their race.
I am proud to have worked with Jessie Cayabo of Bonafide Media & PR & Carmen Cheng of Food Karma Blog on #StopAsianHateAlberta—this collective show of solidarity, standing united with other Asians in Alberta’s food community against race-driven hate crimes.
This campaign was sparked by the March 16, 2021 murder of eight people including six Asian women in Atlanta. When Jessie reached out to Carmen and me to just chat about the racist events that have been occurring, the idea emerged of creating space to help others who felt the same angst make a collective unified statement. In just a few days, we were able to rally 60+ food and hospitality industry professionals to be part of this campaign—sharing graphics featuring our faces, along with text detailing social justice concerns and ways Albertans can take action and stand against race-driven hate.
“These are heinous attacks. We are shaken, saddened, and angry. We ask YOU—our neighbours, partners, customers, followers, and our communities—to stand with us.”
Featured Alberta Asian food community members:
- Ailynn Wong – Yelo’d Ice Cream & Bake Shop
- Alysia Lok – Caramunchies
- Andrea Robinson – A1 Bodega
- Andrew Ocasion – ConMi Taco
- Andrew Fung – Nineteen XIX
- Angela Wong – Splash Poke
- Ariel Del Rosario – Filistix
- Carmen Cheng – Food Karma
- Cecilia Baguiwong – Brew+Bloom
- David Yip – City Fish
- Dean Chan – Umami Noodle Bar/Maruju Sushi
- Duncan Ly – Foreign Concept
- Earl Briones – Junq Food YEG
- Edgar Gutierrez – Kanto 98 St. Eatery
- Eric Mah – Purlieu Bistro
- Franz Swinton – Anejo
- Francine Gomes – Cluck N Cleaver
- Gabe Hall – Le Voyage Gourmand
- Gil Carlos – Bro’kin Yolk/Bros to Go
- Heena Mak – Brown Butter Cafe
- Helen Wong
- Henry Song – Buok Fresh Korean Kitchen
- Hoa Sen Dao – King Noodle House Pho Hoang
- Jason Wong – Yelo’d Ice Cream & Bake Shop
- Jay Del Corro – Eats of Asia
- Jeff Carlos – Bro’kin Yolk/Bros to Go
- Jessie Cayabo – Bonafide Media & PR
- Jinhee Lee – Jin Bar
- John Ahn – NongBu Korean Eatery
- JP Dublado – Kuya Cuisine
- Judith Kwong – Sukiyaki House
- Justin Kwong – Sukiyaki House
- Kaede Hirooka – Respect the Technique
- Kai Wong – Chocorrant Pâtisserie + Cafe
- Karen Kho – Empire Provisions/Lil’ Empire Burger
- Kelvin Lau – Golden Inn
- Kyo Jean Chung – Sugar Water Bar/You & I Cafe
- Lawrence Hui – Ono Poke Co.
- Linda Hoang – Lindork / Linda Hoang Digital
- Linh Chan – Umami Noodle Bar/Maruju Sushi
- Loan Bui – Shōjō Izakaya
- Mai Nguyen – Gourmai Dumplings
- Maribel Flores – Garchi
- Mharlon Atienza – A1 Bodega
- Michael Mak – Brown Butter Cafe
- Michel Nop – Buffo
- Mikko Tamarra – Con Mi Taco
- Miles Quon – The Lingnan
- Nhi Tran – Paper Lantern
- Nick Yee – The Holy Grill
- Nicole Gomes – Cluck N Cleaver
- Pete Nguyen – Sea Change Brewing Co.
- Phoebe Fung – Vin Room
- Roel Canafranca – Filistix
- Ron Elmaleh – Kobachi
- Roy Oh – Roy’s Korean Kitchen
- Sam Lee – Hanjan
- Sam Pham – Brew+Bloom
- Sylvia Kong – Savory Palate Consulting
- Tan Hoang – King Noodle House Pho Hoang
- Vincci Tsui, Registered Dietitian
This group represents just a fraction of Alberta’s Asian food community.
If you are part of Alberta’s Asian food community, or are an ally in Alberta’s hospitality/food industry, we are starting a database to help coordinate, inform of future initiatives and other local, anti-racism information or actions, and move forward in solidarity. You can submit your contact information at this form.
If you are part of the broader. community, and are looking for ways to support and take action, there are many ways to support racial justice.
We have shared six actions Albertans can take to denounce and eliminate race-based hate:
- Speak out if you see a racially motivated attack.
- Call out jokes that disparage or stereotype any BIPOC community.
- Donate to organizations that support anti-BIPOC crime initiatives.
- Support your favourite BIPOC restaurants, business owners, and try new ones.
- LISTEN and ACT when BIPOC in your community are sharing their experiences.
- Read and research to learn what is happening and determine how you can best help.
I have been using my online platforms to raise awareness and action against racism, and taking small steps to uplift underrepresented groups in my community, and will continue to do so. I hope you will too.
Thank you to Act 2 End Racism as well, for organizing a truly moving anti-racism rally this weekend in downtown Edmonton, coinciding with anti-racism rallies across North America.
Inspiring speakers representing diverse BIPOC communities, many of which have long been and recently come under attack, shared emotional and hopeful stories that strengthen our collective resolve to end hate crimes, prejudice, xenophobia and violent acts against people based on their race and identity.
“My identity makes me a target for hate.”
“I’m scared when my grandma goes to the store.”
“I’ve been sexualized, fetishized.”
“My Muslim sisters have been attacked while waiting for transit.”
“Racism and hate must end.”
These are just a few of the powerful statements shared during the Edmonton rally.
Together, I hope we can #Act2EndRacism, racialized violence and injustices many BIPOC communities experience in many ways, every day, everywhere.
Although #StopAsianHateAlberta launched from a food and culinary perspective, I look forward to seeing how the anti-racism movement here in the province grows beyond this as well, and the impact our united voices and collective actions will have on creating a safer, more equitable world where no one is targeted because of their race.
Below I’ve linked some Canadian resources for further anti-racism education and donations:
- Act 2 End Racism
- Canadian Anti-Racism Network
- Fight COVID Racism
- project 1907
- Asian Mental Health Collective
- Inclusive Care Project: What should I do if I witness an Anti-Asian Hate Crime?
- Canadian Human Rights Commission
- Stop AAPI Hate (American)
There are countless news articles about increasing Asian hate crimes in Canada. Read them. Believe them.
Support BIPOC business owners, restaurants, artists, and creators.
STOP AAPI Hate also suggests you ask your workplace, school, faith-based institution, unions and community groups you may be involved with what they are doing to denounce racism.
Call on these organizations to support and take action.
Please join us in our call to:
- Follow @lindork on Twitter
- Follow @lindork on Instagram
- Like Lindork – Linda Hoang on Facebook
- Follow @lindork on TikTok
If you live or work in the Edmonton, Alberta area, or care about Edmonton content, sign up for my hyperlocal newsletter to get weekly recommendations on things to do, eat, and know this week (in the Edmonton area), plus more exclusive content. You can sign up for a free or paid subscription.
(You’ll get the option to select free or paid after you enter your email).