Fondé en 1983 --Unis pour la diversité et l'égalité raciale


Montreal, October 31, 2020 — Chinatown merchants launched today the “Fortunes for Solidarity” campaign, to push back against anti-Asian racism, promote solidarity against COVID-19 related discrimination and build back Chinatown’s economic and cultural vitality.

The “Fortunes for Solidarity” campaign is part of a wider effort amongst Chinatown groups to raise awareness about anti-Asian racism that has increased since the last Winter, due to the malicious stimatization of the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus.”

Earlier this year, Chinatown’s iconic gates were damaged by acts of vandalism. More recently, the second wave of the virus has brought along more acts of vandalism and break-ins, raising more concerns for their safety and economic viability. Throughout the city, there have more reported acts of racial assaults and harassment against Asian Montrealers.

“Acts of racial harassment have increased, and more than ever, Chinese and other Asian Montrealers are compelled to speak up and speak out, something which they traditionally don’t do often,” said Bryant Chang, Vice-president of the Chinese Association of Montreal, a group founded in 1898.

COVID-19 also creates devastating effects on Chinatown’s 160 businesses which employ some 400 people. Many businesses, especially restaurants, face bankruptcy due to the dramatic loss of sales and customers. Due to systemic exclusion, Chinatown is not covered by all three neighboring Commercial Development Corporations (in French, the Société de développement commercial, or SDC), which prevents it from benefiting from many business support measures.

”This campaign is about social and economic solidarity. It’s about protecting our community, building back our businesses and saving our jobs,” Sherry Ao, Chair of the Montreal Chinatown Development Council, stated.

Last month, the Chinese Association of Montreal, the Montreal Chinatown Development Council and CRARR called for a $1 million relief fund, a one-year commercial tax reduction and other business support measures, including a start-up fund to create a Chinatown SDC.

“Our clients are scared to come to Chinatown, in part because of the homelessness issue that has worsened over the last few months, and partly because of the COVID-19 stigma,” said Kate Lau, owner of Sasa Salon. “Small businesses in Chinatown need the support of the wider community if we are going to weather this storm,” she added.

As part of the “Fortunes for Solidarity” campaign, 5,000 fortune cookies will be distributed to Chinatown merchants. Participating businesses will be giving away free fortune cookies with every takeout order. The fortune cookies will each contain a special COVID-related anti-discrimination message promoting solidarity and Chinatown’s economic recovery, which can then be used as a 10% discount coupon the next time they buy. The campaign will run until lockdown measures are lifted on November 23rd, and the coupons will be valid until the Winter Solstice Festival on December 21st.

To date, participating businesses include: Chatime Chinatown, Ding Xiang Dumplings, Restaurant Beijing Inc., Pâtisserie Harmonie, Restaurant Cuisine Cantonaise, Pâtisserie Coco, Restaurant Chez Maxim Oriental, Restaurant Le Vent Doux, Restaurant Fung Shing, Restaurant Dobe & Andy, and Fleurs et Cadeaux.

The campaign launch was attended by Councillor Francesco Miele, Deputy Opposition Leader at City Hall and Councillor Marvin Rotrand, who worked with CRARR in sponsoring a motion last June to denounce anti-Asian hate, racism and violence. The Motion was unanimously adopted by City Council.

“We are very comforted by the fact that the Government of Canada and the City of Montreal have spoken out against racism, including systemic racism, last summer, and now it is time for concrete actions to reduce COVID-19 discrimination and relaunch Chinatown,” CRARR Executive Director Fo Niemi noted.

Since March, CRARR has mobilized Asian and other communities to push more measures against COVID-19 discrimination, ranging from race-based data collection on infection and death; effective hate-crime prevention measures; assistance for Asian victims of violence, to support for Chinatown merchants. It is launching a new initiative next week to mobilize communities against COVID-19 discrimination and disinformation.