Many of you have now seen the video or heard about the incident that happened to me (Gina Chong) and my friend Tiffany at Lafarge Park at Town Centre in Coquitlam. We were subjected to an unprovoked verbal attack due to the colour of our skin and we heard the words, “Covid is because of you. Go back to China. It came from your Country”.
While they were just words, they cut deep and left us shocked that maybe there are people in our community that feel this way about us. What was even more surprising was that these words were spoken by someone who herself is an immigrant to this Country. Although I was born here, many are not and it shouldn’t matter... we all bleed the same.
Since the incident a number of people reached out and shared their own personal stories of racism and their stories have truly left me heartbroken. These include stories of a Port Coquitlam girl being followed by someone in car that was aggressively trying to run her off the sidewalk, or a friend’s grandmother who was walking on the street in Kerrisdale and was punched in the arm by a random stranger, or another women being spat on the train while on the way to work, or a family member in a work situation where someone asked “Are you really Canadian?” in a demeaning way. The stories go on and on.
My own personal stories include being called a “chink” and “ching chong” while in elementary school. In high school, when my parents owned a Bino’s Family Restaurant in West Vancouver, one lady came in, took one look at my dad and started a rhyming chant that started with “chinks, phinx, stinks...”. During university, I took a year off and travelled to East Germany where I worked at a hotel. There I was frequently followed by skin-heads on my way to work, I was told to go back to Thailand multiple times, I was asked to take off my clothes and give a massage while on the job. And now after many years, I experienced this verbal attack in my own backyard.
How is it that in this beautiful country, and in a very multicultural diverse community, incidents like this are happening and are on a drastic rise? A recent article that came out from Bloomberg says Vancouver is the Anti-Asian Hate Crime Capital of North America. According to the article in Vancouver there is an 8-fold increase in anti-Asian hate crimes from the previous year and 43% of British Columbians of Asian descent says that they’ve experienced a racist incident this past year. That statistic alone is alarming.
This is why I am passionate about making a change. Something needs to happen to educate, unite and bridge the gap between us all and our beautifully diverse cultures.
Together with Tiffany Duff and Celia Chiang, we have decided to create a politically neutral, 100% volunteer, non-profit organization called Asian Impact Society. Our mission with this society is to share our experiences through stories and art as we raise awareness on Asian racial injustice. Through unity, compassion, empathy and education our mandate will be to eliminate Asian discrimination, create space for healing and build inclusive communities by spreading love and kindness.
So we are asking for your help.
Please consider to donate to Asian Impact Society to get us started on our mission.