May 1 is a special day for many reasons — that Justin Timberlake meme peaks, workers unite for their rights and spring traditions are in full bloom. The first of May also marks the start of Asian Heritage Month in Canada.
But rising anti-Asian prejudice related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including a racist attack on a 92-year-old Vancouver man, has made many Asian Canadians extra-conscious of how their communities are being perceived.
This has led Canadian actor and Marvel star Simu Liu to step up and reach out to Asian communities with a heartfelt message of unity. To those facing xenophobia, he said, “you belong exactly where you are.”
Donning the iconic shirt made famous by Sandra Oh’s quote, and with a bag of his beloved shrimp crackers in hand, the actor (and occasional Animal Crossing enthusiast) took to Instagram to share the importance of celebrating Asian Heritage Month more than ever.
“I know you’re reading the news and you’ve seen the stares on the street. I know how hard you try to suppress a cough if you choke on a piece of food, for fear of being ostracised,” he wrote. “I know that you worry for your own safety because of all the hateful and xenophobic rhetoric that seems to be louder than ever.”
But, he added that hatred and ignorance shouldn’t stop Asians from being proud of their identities.
“This month is not a month for hiding or being afraid. This month is about celebrating who we are alongside our friends and allies,” the star of “Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings” said.
Watch: coronavirus reportedly driving xenophobia of Asians. Story continues below.
To keep the love for Asian brilliance burning bright all month long, Liu said he’s partnered with Canadian entertainment campaign MADE | NOUS to highlight notable Asian Canadians in show biz, starting with “Never Have I Ever” star Maitreyi Ramakrishnan.
As they both hail from Mississauga Ont., Liu gave a special shout-out to their shared roots.
“I’m repping Streetsville, she reps Meadowvale and no I don’t care if you have no idea what those places are!” he tweeted.
In turn, she joked back about a ’Sauga institution, Square One Shopping Centre.
After that sweet exchange, we can’t wait to see what Liu and friends have in store for the next 30 days.