VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – In light of a possible hate crime on a Vancouver bus last week a local charity is hoping witnesses of future possible hate crimes aren’t bystanders, as more people who were on that 95 B-line bus continue to come forward.
The potential hate crime saw a woman yelling at a group of teens from Brazil who were speaking Portuguese, and telling them to “speak English” before hitting one of them in the face with a backpack.
Ninu Kang with MOSAIC, which works with immigrants and refugees, calls it an overt form of discrimination and harassment.
“It’s clear someone is verbally attacking another person, that’s very easy to see.”
She says in situations like this, it’s easy for people to stand idle but if you witness something similar, even making eye contact with the victim and later seeing if they’re okay goes a long way.
“Make eye contact with the person that is being harassed just to let them know that you see what’s going on and you’re supportive of them. Assess safety, you don’t want to escalate the situation. Be calm – calm creates calm.”
Kang says while the incident was likely traumatic for the teens, witnesses may also have been affected.
“Our bodies react very differently to trauma – sometimes we get paralyzed, we don’t know what to say. It’s important to feel comfortable, that you can say something, and other people are also probably thinking the same thing.”
Transit Police are still looking to identity the woman behind the bus incident.