With the onset of COVID, we saw sharp increases. Not that anti-Asian racism didn't always exist, but we remember the nipper-tipping nonsense, and hatred that was happening here in Ontario not too long ago. We saw a significant increase in anti-Asian racism, whether people were being physically attacked or called names. Some of our political world leaders have absolutely encouraged those kinds of things, and Canada is not immune to it.
We've also seen a rise in anti-Black racism, and just very blatantly, both in terms of individuals who threaten Black lives all the time, including our security forces, like the police, and in terms of unarmed folks being killed, especially those at the intersection of race and mental health.
As a country, we really need to take this seriously. As the pandemic continues and we begin to slowly reopen and begin to look at some of the economic numbers, especially employment numbers, we know historically that racialized folks, and particularly those who are immigrants and refugees, will begin to be blamed. That's why it is so important for governments at all levels to be proactive in terms of putting out public messages around issues of anti-racism and what that really looks like.
Even more important, what this pandemic has shown is the huge gap that exists because of race and systemic racism. This is a time for governments to be bold, to look at policies that will shift, and move how racialized folks are participating economically and socially. I'm here talking about regularization of status. When we talk about those who are undocumented, the vast majority are racialized folks. When we respond in terms of a regularization program, it is also an anti-racism response.