Message from Michael Gottheil, Chief of the Commission and Tribunal
(May 5, 2020)
Countering Racism during COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all our lives in many ways. Unfortunately, it has led to an increase in racism and discrimination towards certain groups of Canadians. Since the beginning of this crisis, minority groups in Alberta, especially people of Asian descent, have been the targets of racist comments, threats, and intimidation.
Even though it may be human nature to want to assign blame or lash out in difficult times, we must be vigilant against xenophobia. To fight this pandemic, we need to look after one another by reaching out to our fellow Albertans and showing compassion, care, and consideration.
Fortunately, many groups and individuals continue to address inequity and racism issues in our province. Recently, ACT2endracism developed the Covid-19 Anti-Racism Incident Reporting Centre, where individuals can report hateful incidents in multiple languages, either on-line or by text messaging. This is a timely initiative that will provide immediate support for victims of racism, as well as referrals to human rights and law enforcement agencies as appropriate.
We know that racism and discrimination will not stop when this pandemic ends, and may even worsen for some within our communities. Now, more than ever, Albertans and Canadians need to come together as one to stand up to hate. As we begin to ease restrictions and gradually move toward recovery, it is crucial that all spaces are free from hate, racism, and xenophobia, and that all Albertans feel safe.
The Chief’s message is also posted on the Commission’s website, albertahumanrights.ab.ca.