Earlier today, 60 prominent members of the Alberta food community–all of which of Asian heritage–collectively launched an online movement calling for social justice.
The united stand was spearheaded by Jessie Cayabo of Bonafide Media and PR, Edmonton social media strategist, blogger and writer Linda Hoang and Calgary-based writer Carmen Cheng. There are many familiar faces from the province's restaurant scene here including many nationally acclaimed chefs such as Edgar Gutierrez (Kanto 98 St. Eatery), Duncan Ly (Foreign Concept), Nicole Gomes (Cluck N Cleaver, and Jinhee Lee (JINBAR) as well as restaurateur Karen Kho (Empire Provisions), brewery co-owner Pete Nguyen (Sea Change Brewing Co.), dietician Vincci Tsui, and many more.
Carmen Cheng says she has felt extreme unrest since viewing the flurry of news and social media activity that surrounded the March 16 terrorist attack in Atlanta took place, claiming the lives of eight women with six being of Asian descent.
"With the increased stories of hate crimes and attacks on the Asian communities emerging, I had been feeling angry and heartbroken, especially as many of the victims look like my grandmothers or parents. When my friend Jessie Cayabo reached out to myself, as well as Linda Hoang to just chat about the events, the idea began to take shape of creating space for others who felt the same angst to make a collective unified statement."
She goes on to say that in just a matter of days, they had 60+ industry professionals ready and willing to take part in the campaign. Graphics featuring the faces of all participating Asian individuals as well as text detailing social justice concerns and ways Albertans can help support have been popping up on social media like wildfire today with the coinciding hashtag #StopAsianHateAlberta.
It is strongly encouraged that both food lovers and hospitality professionals alike join in the online movement by re-posting any of the graphics to stand in solidarity with Asian community members across the province and beyond.
"As a Canadian-born Chinese person, I am afforded a lot of privileges and a sense of belonging that many in the Asian community simply don’t have," says Cheng. "I feel a tremendous responsibility to generate awareness not just for the heinous hate crimes we are seeing targeting the East Asian community, but the continued racialized violence and injustices towards many BIPOC communities everyday.
"Our families and loved ones deserve to be protected and no one should be targeted or a victim of violence because of their race."
Since launching the #StopAsianHateAlberta campaign this morning, Cheng says that many more Asian restaurant industry professionals have reached out wanting to take part in the collective. The movement was initially a response for the recent attacks against individuals in the East Asian community, but with the amount of support received by Asian people in other areas of the world, there is potential for the campaign to be broadened.
Expect to hear more from this growing group in the coming weeks.