It all started in December 2019. From there on, we all know the story: It spread like a spider’s web and affected almost every country in the world. We’re talking about the newest coronavirus, the COVID-19. Aside from doing damage to people’s health, the virus is having a global impact on the economy, business sector, transport industry, and it can negatively affect your mental health. However, we can all agree that COVID-19 is a sip of fresh air for Mother Nature: Pollution slowed down, Venice’s waters are crystal-clear, and though it is too soon to tell, the virus may have a good impact on climate change. But you know what else flourished these days? Xenophobia. Racism against the Asian community. Instead of supporting each other, the virus turned us against each other.
The pandemic has led to increased prejudice, xenophobia, discrimination, violence, and racism against Chinese people and people from East Asian and Southeast Asian countries. This is happening particularly in Europe and Northern America, but specialists are also seeing a similar sentiment rising in Africa and the Middle East. Actually, the past few weeks have seen people avoid Chinese restaurants and other Asian-owned businesses. Such people are verbally and physically attacked by others just for being Asian.
These days, we should take care of stopping the spread of both COVID-19 and racism. If you’re asking yourself how you can actually do that, then you should check the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice‘s latest initiative, which protects people, be they Asian or otherwise, against viruses and xenophobia.
Coming from the hands of the creative minds at The Hive, the campaign features bottles of hand sanitizer bearing the message “Stop the Spread,” which is actually the title of the project. While most of us can assume that the bottles are intended at lowering the rate of the coronavirus, they are actually small tools that people can use to reconsider the actions they take towards the Asian community.
Each bottle features the “Stop the Spread” message, whilst the wording on the label mimics the one found on standard bottles of sanitizers. Some of the messages you may find on the vessels include: “Protects against toxic behavior,” or “Works best with common sense” and “Keep (intolerance) away from children.”
“Globally, xenophobia and racism towards Chinese and other Asian communities have been on a rapid rise since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. This upswing of racism closely mirrors the racism experienced by Chinese in Canada during the 2003 SARS outbreak, and must be confronted,” says Amy Go, Interim National President of the Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice.
“The ‘Stop the Spread’ idea was born out of a simple thought – that much sought-after hand sanitizer could be used as a tool to send an important message, and ultimately propel change,” says Meghan Kraemer, Creative Director, The Hive. “With our team dressed in hazmat suits, we hit the streets of Toronto. The suits were attention-grabbing and the response was over-resoundingly positive. Our hope is that this initiative will help sanitize the stigma – and foster kindness, acceptance, and a desire for Canadians to be guided by facts, not fear.”
The bottles of hand sanitizer were distributed on Tuesday, March 3rd in high-traffic areas in Toronto, including Chinatown, Yonge-Dundas Square, and Nathan Phillips Square.
Agency: The Hive