Chinese New Year falls on Friday, February 12 this year and we want to wish everyone a happy New Year during this very difficult time.
With the lockdown’s restrictions on large gatherings, celebrations must be much more low key. It’s a disappointment to all of us that we’ll miss yet another important celebration – an integral part of our multicultural society this year. Add to this that ever since the pandemic hit, hateful words and actions have been directed against Chinese Canadians and other Asian Canadians who have been singled out for abuse for supposedly creating or spreading the COVID-19 virus. People have been insulted and spat upon. School boards have been asked to ban Chinese-Canadian children. Hate emails have been received, and people have been punched and stabbed in their neighbourhoods.
It goes without saying that all of us at OPSEU/SEFPO are sickened by such senseless, despicable acts. Even Chinese restaurants and other businesses – who form the basis of our cultural and economic life – have suffered terribly from wrong-headed boycotting.
It all must stop. Now.
We know from our history that this is not the first time the Chinese and Asian communities have faced racism and discrimination. But we also know how resilient they are – and that nothing will prevent them from flourishing and contributing – just as they have since the first Chinese-Canadians arrived over 160 years ago.
At this festive time of year, we stand in solidarity against hate. Let’s seize the generous spirit of the season, and with renewed hope, look to a brighter future – one without COVID, one without bigotry.
To all OPSEU/SEFPO members and staff marking the start of the Year of the Ox, we wish you a very joyful and very safe celebration, and good health and prosperity throughout the coming year.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU/SEFPO President
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida, OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer