• Carla Vreeland

Vancouver Art Gallery Brings Together Community Again Xenophobia

In an ever-changing world, the phrase “new normal” is being used frequently, but the xenophobia that has arisen as a byproduct of the novel COVID-19 should never be considered a part of the new world.

Artists all over the globe are battling daily prejudices and blatant racism that they and other people of Asian descent are now being faced with.

There are endless lists of recent crimes and indecencies that have been committed, since the spread of COVID-19. During an event that has undoubtedly led to a decline in mental health, people should not have to be fearful that they may be a target for anti-Asian hate crimes.

In early February, the Sunzen Art Gallery based in Vancouver, Canada hosted a traditional tea ceremony to shed light on the misleading information and racism that has been spread.

The organizer Lin Li had provided fact sheets for the attendees to read about COVID-19 as they enjoyed the tea ceremony, in an attempt to bring together the residents of Vancouver.

According to CTV News, Lin Li had experienced, first hand, the negativity that the virus had fueled when a woman screamed the name of the virus in her face while passing through a train station.

“I totally understand people's fear about the virus, but I really hope that this fear will not be transferred to anger towards another group of people living in the same world, or believing in the conspiracy comments made by some politicians...” Li said in an interview.

The Sunzen Art Gallery will continue to hold events, both in-person, when allowed, and online. They hope that the upcoming incense ceremonies, tea ceremonies, live music, and guided tours with the Shiba dog, Mako, will limit misconceptions and encourage open communication.

Through all these efforts, I hope people can be connected to us, and we can create some happy moments for people interested in art and culture,” said Li.

At such an unprecedented time when so many people are physically divided from their friends, family, and community, corporations should be doing their part to combat the hate fueled actions that have been intensifying.

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