The Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice is running “Stop the Spread”, a campaign addressing coronavirus-related xenophobia. At the heart of the campaign are bottles of hand sanitiser labelled “Stop the Spread – of racism”. On March 3, the bottles were given out in crowded spaces in Toronto by volunteers dressed in biohazard suits, with a warning: “Ignorance has reached epidemic proportions”. The bottles drive people to the campaign website, StopTheSpread.ca. Word spread quickly around the city, province, and country, as news outlets covered the story throughout the day, and many Torontonians shared the initiative on social media.
A better world.
Protects against toxic behaviour.
Works best with common sense.
Flammable – may ignite strong sense of community.
For external use only – may lead to inner reflection.
Explosive personal growth may result.
Apply liberally to alleviate irrational fear and predjudice.
The global rise of the coronavirus and subsequent media attention has led to an alarming rise in a different kind of sickness—racism directed towards the Chinese Canadian community. The past weeks have seen a marked uptick in stories about people avoiding Chinese restaurants and other Asian-owned businesses, and verbally attacking Asian people online or in public.
It mirrors the upswing in racism that accompanied the 2003 SARS epidemic, which the Conference Board of Canada estimated had a $1.5 billion impact on the Canadian economy — $1 billion in Toronto alone — as travellers avoided the city.
“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 sanitiser 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 sanitise the stigma – and foster kindness, acceptance and a desire for Canadians to be guided by facts, not fear.”
Stop the Spread Credits
The Stop the Spread campaign was developed pro bono at The Hive, Toronto, by chief creative officer Simon Creet, creative director Meghan Kraemer, associate creative director Mitch Duesling, art director Teresa Maria De Paz, copywriter Nicholas Schembri, associate creative director/director of production Yilma Campbell, project management team Cecilia Hui and Brandon Vignali, digital content strategist Lauren Hildebrand, working with Chinese Canadian National Council for Social Justice interim national president Amy Go and co-founder Dr Joseph Wong.
Filming was shot by director Cameron Tomsett. Photography is by Mark Ralph. Editor was Mark Morton at School Editing.