Winnipeg organization fights COVID-19-related racism in new campaign

A new anti-racism campaign has a message for Manitobans: COVID-19 doesn't discriminate, and neither should you.

Community members come forward with disturbing stories, campaign organizer says

Immigration Partnership Winnipeg's a public awareness-building campaign includes posters that say 'Manitobans: COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate. Nor should you!' (DontDiscriminateMB/Instagram)

A new anti-racism campaign has a message for Manitobans: COVID-19 doesn't discriminate, and neither should you. 

The campaign created by Immigration Partnership Winnipeg focuses on fighting anti-Asian racism.

It uses posters and social media to condemn the association of COVID-19 with any ethnic or racial group, provide information and tools for victims and witnesses of racism, discrimination and xenophobia, and highlight that many of the targeted community members are essential workers during the pandemic.

The problem is a lot bigger than most of us know, and it's about time we address it, said Hani Ataan Al-Ubeady, director of Immigration Partnership Winnipeg.

He's heard about people being shouted or sworn at by neighbours, hearing malicious jokes in workplaces and feeling like their co-workers are avoiding them. 

The hope is the campaign will encourage Manitobans to fight this kind of discrimination.

"Our campaign is basically a reminder to the rest of Manitoba that, listen, you are a great society. Keep it the way it is. Do not let fear and anxiety take over," he said. 

"There is no such thing as Asian versus white blood. Pandemic is pandemic — that's why they call it a pandemic. We're all impacted by it."

The organization will distribute posters to any businesses, organizations or places of worship that want to display them. 

They're also encouraging front-line workers who identify as immigrants or refugees to post photos of themselves on social media with a piece of paper saying they are doing essential work in Manitoba, using the hashtag #EssentialinMB, to show the importance of immigrants and refugees in the response to the current health crisis. 

The campaign encourages essential workers who are immigrants or refugees to point out on social media that they're key in the fight against COVID-19. (DontDiscriminateMB/Instagram)

Almost two dozen Manitoba organizations are partnering with Immigration Partnership Winnipeg on the campaign. 

With files from Aviva Jacob