By Burnaby Now |
In 2020, when the world was grappling with the coronavirus (COVID-19), there was another virus spreading: anti-Asian hate.
Videos surfaced — of a 84-year-old woman being tripped in Metrotown and then of a 93-year-old man assaulted in Vancouver’s Chinatown — unfortunately, it didn’t end there. In the next couple of years, anti-Asian hate spiked.
In 2021, Burnaby saw a 350 per cent jump in such offences during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Go back to your country” and “you don’t belong here” were increasingly heard.
Three years after the Metrotown hate incident, BC RCMP Staff Sgt. Frank Jang was working late night when the video of the assault resurfaced. “It was weighing heavily on my heart,” he said. “I wondered if I can do something about this.”
Around the same time, when an email came through calling for applications for a grant from the Department of Justice Canada in observation of Victims and Survivors Crime Week, Jang jumped on it and planned a community event, which attracted 140 members of the community and coincided with Victim and Survivors Crime Week and Asian Heritage Month.
The goal of the May 17 forum held in Burnaby was to highlight the importance of reporting hate crimes.
Numbers don’t paint the whole picture, Jang said. Hate crimes are vastly underreported, partly because of shame, he explained. But victims shouldn’t stay silent, he said.