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Former Vancouver mayor's new wife speaks out after wave of anti-Asian hate follows release of wedding photos

"Dehumanization starts with words and words reinforce stereotypes and hate."
EileenPark2
Eileen Park spoke for more than 7-minutes about anti-Asian hate.

Eileen Park is reluctant to speak about anti-Asian hate, but following recent events she's decided to speak out.

The same week that a man killed eight people, six of whom were Asian women, Park's marriage to Gregor Robertson was featured in Vogue magazine. While some people celebrated and congratulated the pair online, many others turned to racism.

In response, Park, who is of Korean heritage, turned to Facebook to share her thoughts.

"For too long Asian women all over the world, like me, have had to keep quiet and eat our own bitterness," she says at the beginning of the video.

The hate she received, personally, came as "an avalanche," despite the public conversation around anti-Asian hate going on at the same time during a time of grief for the widespread Asian community.

In the video which focuses on Park as she talks, screen captures of comments are shared as well.

Along with anonymous internet commenters, she speaks about subtle racism in media. Before her marriage to Robertson (she now lists Vancouver as her home on Facebook) she worked in politics in Portland, Oregon.

One specific type of racism she speaks about is the hyper-sexualization and fetishization of Asian women, something she's not surprised to see coming from the public at large.

"I was surprised when members of the local press started feeding into it; amplifying and investigating rumours that had to do with the racialized hyper-sensualization of me, an Asian woman," she says. "And this should come as no surprise, my white male predecessors did not receive the same treatment for doing the same job that I did."

That type of coverage led to Park receiving racist messages, including harassment at the grocery store and death threats during recent protests in Portland.

"If it wasn't for my partner Gregor and a few friends I confided in I don't know where I'd be today; there were many nights I didn't want to live anymore," she says.

She encourages people to shut down similar language around Asian women and become allies.

"What may seem like harmless gossip does real damage, because dehumanization starts with words and words reinforce stereotypes and hate," she says. "And we cannot let violence be the end result of such hate."

In response to the video people have voiced support for Park and the Asian community in North America.