PORT MOODY (NEWS 1130) — While walking with a friend through Lafarge Lake Park in Coquitlam, a Port Moody woman says she faced a racist barrage.
Gina Chong says she and a friend were out for a stroll Thursday when a woman approached them and asked to take a picture for her.
“We said to her, ‘sorry, we can’t due to COVID.’”
However, the woman asking for a photo allegedly responded with a racist rant saying, “this COVID is all because of you. You need to go back to China. It came from your country.”
Chong says the woman’s anti-Asian comments prompted her to start recording the incident.
“We asked her if she could repeat that [on camera], and obviously she didn’t want to. But she made some rude remarks. She said again, ‘it came from your country.’”
Chong adds the park was busy, and while the incident took place, a group of people stopped to listen to what was happening.
“One lady on the bench just kind of called out to her, ‘don’t be racist. We all bleed the same.’ And so it was nice to see that there was someone that was speaking out for us,” said Chong.
But she added that “in that situation, it would have been nice if more people spoke up.”
Chong says she has lived in Port Moody all her life and this type of attack is not something she has experienced as an adult.
“I have experienced a little bit of racism, here and there, when I was a lot younger,” she said. “But nothing since. So, this definitely came out of nowhere, and it was completely unexpected.”
Growing up in an Asian household in a western society, Chong says they “were always told to stay silent, not to speak out and not to stir the pot.”
“I think this has to change,” she said.
“I wanted to use this opportunity to speak out for the youth and for the seniors who don’t feel like they have a voice.
“I have two young daughters. I want them to speak out for themselves and also to defend others. And I really do hope anyone that witnesses … something like this speak up as well.”
Since the incident, Chong posted the video on her Facebook page and Instagram, where she’s received an overwhelmingly positive response from the public.
“It’s been pretty shocking,” she said. “I’ve been inundated with so many messages from people I don’t even know, just concerned about what has happened and apologizing and saying that definitely shouldn’t have happened.
“So it’s really heartwarming to know that there are people out there that really do care about this type of situation and this Asian hate that’s happening right now.”
This incident happened just as Burnaby RCMP reported a 350 per cent rise in anti-Asian hate crimes in the first year of the pandemic. There were six crimes reported in 2019. It jumped to 27 in 2020.