Ryerson University hosting national forum on anti-Asian racism

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Ryerson University (name change pending), is hosting a virtual forum on anti-Asian racism.

The event, titled the National Forum on Anti-Asian Racism: Building Solidarities, will run from Nov. 9 to 10 and include several different sessions focused on racism within Canadian universities.

The forum was preceded by a similar one held by the University of British Columbia. While that event was centered on raising awareness of anti-Asian racism, the upcoming forum at Ryerson is meant to drive action and change. 

“The ultimate goal of this forum really is about bringing people together,” said Gabe Ciufo, a planning lead for the national forum.

“We’ve tried to work up a good definition for what building solidarity is, and for us it’s different communities […] standing together to help create that transformative change that’s needed for an equitable future.”

The event is free to register for and will host faculty and students from universities across Canada. Recordings will  be available to anyone who has registered.

“I think what’s unique about this forum is that it’s nationwide,” Josel Angelica said, planning lead for the event.

“There’s representation from the West to East coast, which showcases the diversity of the Asian community.”

The sessions planned cover a wide variety of topics relating to systemic racism and the lived experiences of Asian Canadians. 

There will also be musical performances throughout the event, including Ryerson’s Urban Hip-Hop Union and Adrien Southerland of the band Midnight Shine.

While the event is being hosted by Ryerson’s Faculty of Arts, the planning leads have placed an emphasis on engaging both students and university faculty in conversations surrounding race and action.

“We have emphasized having this role of listening and learning, and even contributing, from various forms of university leadership,” Ciufo said.

“We’ve constantly been asking ourselves the question of who needs to be in the room to hear these conversations.” 

The planning leads encourage students from Laurier to attend any of the sessions being offered.

Laurier itself announced the Laurier Legacy Project earlier this year, a research initiative created to examine the colonial legacy of the University’s namesake Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Laurier was directly involved in shaping anti-Asian policies during his time in office, noted Heena Mistry, the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Training Specialist at Laurier.

Mistry indicated that she was looking forward to the national forum.  

“National conversations in these public forums help those who don’t share those lived experiences understand what [systemic racism] means,” Mistry said.

“But also, folks for whom this is their lived experience get a chance to contribute to that dialogue.”

More information can be found on the official website, including the schedule and registration information. 

The  MyLearningSpace of each Laurier student  also offers a free course, titled EDI – Inclusive Research, which contains resources about anti-Asian racism in higher education. The course is accessible through the Self Registration tab.

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