Citizen Custom Dictionary Makes Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas 2023 List, Gets Implemented by Microsoft

May 30, 2023
Woman on Bench

In 2022, Elimin8Hate – the advocacy arm of the Vancouver Asian Film Festival (VAFF) – developed the world’s first custom dictionary plug-in, ReclaimYourName.dic, of over 8,000 Asian names that removes the red underline marking it a typo, in partnership with Citizen Relations. Today, the initiative has been recognized by Microsoft and is being added into current and future Microsoft 365 application updates, including Microsoft Word. The dictionary is a much-needed first-step in creating a culture of belonging  and inclusivity for all – and a great way to celebrate Asian Heritage Month!

The campaign, which has received a multitude of accolades over the past few weeks, supports Elimin8Hate’s mission to dismantle and eliminate anti-Asian racism around the world. Adopting an anglicized name is a common practice for Asians but instead of making things easier for them, emotional wellbeing suffers, often accompanied by a loss of identity. Seeing a red underline marking your name as a typo is one example of softwares we use saying: If you’re Asian, you don’t belong. Elimin8Hate’s ReclaimYourName campaign stepped in to show action and support for Asians by normalizing their names. For Microsoft, the world’s biggest tech giant, to take this step is a huge win – not just for the campaign, but for creating an inclusive experience for all.

“At Microsoft, our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more,” said Chris Barry, President, Microsoft Canada. “We are intentional about using our global reach to drive positive change in the communities where we live and work. Billions of people use Microsoft apps every day for work, school and life and initiatives like Elimin8Hate’s ReclaimYourName dictionary will help make that experience more inclusive for everyone.”

Along with a recent Webby award win and multiple One Show, Clio, ADC, PRWeek Global and Sabre awards, the campaign was featured in Fast Company’s list of World Changing Ideas for 2023 in the Workplace category.