Last week, we were shocked and outraged to learn of the assault against an elderly Asian man in East Vancouver, which the police identified as a racially motivated attack.
Regrettably, since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a rise in anti-Chinese and anti-Asian sentiment throughout Vancouver and the province. Chinese businesses, especially restaurants and grocery stores, are suffering due to racist misinformation about the transmission of the corona virus. The Vancouver Police Department has noted an increase in hate crimes for March and 45% of those crimes had an anti-Asian element. Hate crimes and racially motivated attacks are usually under-reported meaning the actual numbers may in fact be much higher.
We have also seen a growing number of incidents of anti-Asian slurs being launched at our community members and some have even been told to “go back to China”. Right now, we are living in a time fraught with uncertainty, but we know that racism is not the answer. Through challenging times, we are always stronger as a community when we treat each other with kindness, generosity and respect.
The recently launched Resilience B.C. Anti-Racism Network is one platform to connect communities with information, supports, and training to prevent future incidents of racism and hate. We must do all that we can to be vigilant and stand up against racist attacks like these in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. We cannot fall into complacency, prejudice and ignorance – both now while we are living through this crisis and after.
We are privileged to live in one of the most culturally diverse places in the world, and we all need to work together to ensure that everyone feels welcomed, valued and respected in British Columbia. We urge all British Columbians to do their part and stand up against the rise of anti-Asian sentiment and hate in the wake of COVID-19. There are many things we can all do including supporting local Chinese businesses, calling out injustice and reporting hate crimes.
For the most current and accurate information about COVID-19, visit http://covid-19.bccdc.ca/.
Shane Simpson, MLA for Vancouver-Hastings
George Chow, MLA for Vancouver-Fraserview