UBC hosts National Forum on Anti-Asian Racism to 'spur a much-needed national conversation'

UBC is hosting a National Forum on Anti-Asian Racism on June 10 and 11 to discuss the impacts of anti-Asian racism in Canada — and how to combat this racism moving forward.

The two-day forum includes a combination of panel events and interactive breakout room sessions where participants will be given the chance to actively participate and contribute to the discussions.

The forum is being held in a year in which a Bloomberg article labelled Vancouver the “anti-Asian hate crime capital of North America” and students and community members have reported anti-Asian racism on UBC’s campus.

Dr. Carol Liao, an associate professor in the faculty of law and one of the steering committee members for the event, emphasized the role that everyone in the UBC community has to play in fighting racism.

“This National Forum is helping to build capacity by examining anti-Asian racism within the broader context of racism … it's about solidarity in our efforts to elicit real change in our institutions and communities,” Liao said.

Liao criticized the “false sense of Canadian exceptionalism that forgets our very racist history” and said this forum could be a place to encourage “public consciousness and awareness” of that history.

“This forum is designed to create action plans. The idea is that we're going to set some key priorities to be implemented across the country,” Liao said. “We can spend less time discussing whether racism is real and exists within our institutions and focus more on what can be done about it.”

UBC President Santa Ono called the discussions that will take place in this forum “crucial” in a statement.

“Anti-Asian racism will not be eradicated because of a two-day forum, of course, but we believe the forum will help spur a much-needed national conversation.”

Professor Henry Yu, a planning committee member and professor in the department of history, said that students should attend this forum to take part in these discussions and create action plans for how to combat anti-Asian racism.

“It's so important to have students [attend the forum] because … you're the future,” Yu said. “...you have to decide to be the change you want to see.”

Register to attend the forum here.