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Statement of solidarity condemning anti-Asian racism and actions to address this cruelty

The Nursing Undergraduate Society condemns the acts of violence and hatred against the Southeast Asian community as a result of anti-Asian racism. The lives of Delaina Ashley Yaun, Daoyou Feng, Xiaojie Tan, Soon C. Park, Hyun J Grant, Sun Cha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Vicha Ratanapakdee, Ee Lee, Christian Hall, Pak Ho, Angelo Quinto, and many more, were taken as a result of racism that the public and our institutions have failed to address.

We cannot effectively address anti-Asian racism without effectively naming, addressing and mitigating the consequences of structural racism that impact Indigenous, Black and communities of colour. We recognize that racism and discrimination are embedded into political, social, and economic structures and manifest explicitly across the healthcare sector. As future nurses who will play an integral role in addressing health inequities across communities, and disrupting cycles of discrimination and negligence, it is our responsibility to address our internal biases, identify and address the discriminatory practices that are perpetuated through our profession and demand change in our academic institutions.

The current pandemic has increased the number of hate crimes against Asian people, particularly Southeast Asians as a result of China being blamed for the spread of COVID-19. Although the rise of racist acts against Southeast Asians has been brought to the forefront, we must not forget the longstanding history of anti-Asian racism in Canada. Healthcare has historically and continues to be a source of active racism against Southeast Asian communities, through differential treatment, stigmatization, and denial of care during the Bubonic Plague, Spanish Flu, and most recently COVID-19. Nurses have a professional responsibility to ensure that health equity is embedded within healthcare practice. We need to name and unlearn stereotypes and biases as they manifest into prejudicial and discriminatory actions towards Asian clients seeking healthcare.

Moving forward, NUS would like to implement the following initiatives to ensure specific attention is drawn to the discrimination against the Southeast Asian community, create safe spaces to report and discuss the impact of harassment, and implement change through cultural awareness, education and providing support for Southeast Asian students and healthcare clients.

  • Provide information about how to report incidents of racism safely and anonymously

  • Connecting students to bystander intervention training

  • Liaise with faculty committees to support curriculum change that integrates anti-racist practice to address widespread racism faced by members of Southeast Asian communities

  • Spread awareness on the history of systemic and structural racism faced by Southeast Asian communities using NUS social media platforms

  • Raise funds for Canadian initiatives that work to spread awareness and support those impacted by anti-Asian discrimination, such as Fight COVID Racism

  • Collaborate with Southeast Asian Associations at the University of Toronto to share events, workshops and skills building initiatives to support the nursing students in integrating anti-racist practice into their care

Our goal is to ensure that we are bringing issues of racism and discrimination to the forefront of our classrooms, our institutions, and our student community. We will ensure this goal is met by holding ourselves and our faculty accountable. We hope to work with and for the Southeast Asian students and the community to help create a safe, more culturally aware space for healing and growth.

In solidarity,

The Nursing Undergraduate Society


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