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Hearing from our team: How we can strengthen allyship

We connected with Alfredo Tan, Senior Vice-President, Strategy Data & Products at Rogers Sports & Media and Executive Sponsor of Rogers Pan Asian Network, and Camille Gendreau, VP Organization Development and Learning, to discuss how we can strengthen allyship in support of the Asian community and #StopAsianHate today.

What do you want people to know about Anti-Asian hate?  

Alfredo Tan: Up until the eve of the COVID-19 pandemic, the prevailing narrative about Asians was one of the “model minority” – a stereotype and assumption that Asians have class privilege, high socioeconomic status and education, and that any discrimination towards them doesn’t really happen or feel legitimate. First of all, this stereotype is far from a reality to many Asians around the world. This stereotype contributes to erasing the very real interpersonal aggressions (both implicit and explicit) that we see happening to Asians in day-to-day life. With many of these incidents often not reported nor posted online.

Violence against Asians in North America has surged exponentially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the past year, there has been an alarming rise in the number of attacks on the most vulnerable of those in the Asian community – elderly Asians and Asian women. The recent murder of eight people has caused fear, sadness and helplessness among the Asian community.

How can we make impactful changes today?

Alfredo: The biggest impact is made through allyship – and this can be done by not remaining silent, but rather by taking action. First, denounce anti-Asian sentiments; be vocal, say “it is not ok” say “you condemn it” and that “you believe it’s wrong.” Say something! Comments like “Kung Flu,” “Chinese Virus,” “where are you REALLY from,” “your English is really good,” are racist and should not be tolerated. Interrupting generalizations is also important. If someone says, “Asians are…” say “your generalization of an entire community based on a few examples is harmful”.

Second, support the Asian community by amplifying the cause, on social media follow and use #StopAsianHate #HateIsAVirus, andshare the stories of what your Asian friends are experiencing.

Lastly, act! Reach out to your Asian friends or those within the community and check in to see how they’re doing. Learn to better understand. There are many great resources to educate allies on what racism looks like. Take time to educate yourself on the underlying issues around why anti-Asian sentiments exists with resources like the City of Toronto’s Anti-East Asian Racism page and the Toronto District School Board’s guide on Addressing Anti-Asian Racism.

What is Rogers doing to denounce racism and discrimination?

Camille Gendreau: We want the Asian community both within our company, and outside to know we stand with you, we are listening, and we support you.

Over the last several months we have really focused on doing the groundwork needed to deliver on building a workplace that upholds inclusion and diversity. We’ve created space for regular open discussions with our team members of equity-seeking groups, have focused on the removal of bias and have worked to drive awareness and allyship from the top down, reshaping our entire approach to I&D with our new 5-year strategy.

While we have made progress, our Inclusion & Diversity journey is far from over and we are committed to continuing do more to ensure all of our team members can bring their full selves at work, feel like they belong and are included.