A Message from Our Director

Dear ACAM Community,

This latest edition of The Current goes online during a time of uncertainty, anger, and distress for many Asian Canadian communities. For those of us on the ACAM staff team, the COVID-19 epidemic and the wave of anti-Asian racism it has unleashed has been difficult to witness, experience, and hold. Amidst daily reports of racist graffiti, verbal abuse, and physical assault directed towards racialized Asians, many Asian Canadians are also vulnerable frontline workers, or experience numerous barriers in accessing social services and economic supports. While the COVID-19 epidemic has shown the depth and extent of anti-Asian racism, we also need to remember that it exists alongside other forms of racism: the global protests currently taking place in response to the killing of George Floyd and recent incidents of police violence against Indigenous peoples demonstrates the urgent need for solidarity as we support, and learn from, movements against anti-Black and anti-Indigenous violence.

Although much of the campus is currently closed and classes will remain online at least into the fall, ACAM remains dedicated to community building at a time when many of us are feeling isolated and disconnected with each other. Our staff have been organizing online check-ins focused on mental health and well-being, and our upcoming (online) events will offer other ways to connect with members of the ACAM community. We are also honoured to be part of the C19 Response Coalition, an initiative led by the Hua Foundation to provide and translate updated and accurate information related to the COVID-19 pandemic in multiple Asian languages.

Going into the fall, ACAM will continue to provide platforms for community-engaged learning, dialogue, and reflection. This coming academic year, we will be introducing two new courses that address issues related to COVID-19 related racism. In Term 1, Laura Ishiguro from the History Department will be offering a course on “Not Just the Past: Asian Canadian Histories for Our Times” (ACAM 300); in Term 2, Ben Cheung from the Psychology Department will be offering a course on “Health Among the Asian Diaspora in Canada” (ACAM 320B). ACAM will also continue to offer ACAM 250 (Asian Canadians in Popular Culture with JP Catungal) and ACAM 350 (Asian Canadian Community-Based Media with Al Yoshizawa). We will be posting more information about these courses in the days to come; please check our Approved Courses List for updates on other ACAM-eligible courses.

At a time when different forms of racism are exacting a heavy toll on Asian Canadian communities, ACAM is deeply grateful to the students and alumni who have been serving vulnerable communities and speaking out against violence and injustice. Our faculty, through their research, teaching, and public engagement, have been helping to shape our understanding of these dangerous times. We are inspired everyday by community partners, members, and elders who have shown leadership and care by mobilizing resources, advocating for the vulnerable, and tending to our hearts, minds, and souls. We will be sharing more of these stories in the days to come on our social media channels.

Thank you for reading The Current – we look forward to connecting with many of you in the months to come as we move forward together.

Stay healthy, safe, and strong.


Chris Lee
ACAM Director