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Target of racist comments in Coquitlam park accepts apology

Last Updated Jul 1, 2020 at 3:06 pm PDT

Minnekhada Regional Park. (Courtesy Minnekhada Regional Park)
Summary

After a heated exchange in Minnekhada Regional Park involving racist comments, an apology has been accepted

In a video posted online, a woman told two young women of colour to 'Go back where they came from'

One of the young women says she's happy the women in the video took responsibility

COQUITLAM (NEWS 1130) — After the woman at the centre of a disturbing viral video offered an apology, one of the young women the offensive comments were directed at says people should be able to learn from their mistakes.

“I wasn’t really expecting an apology from anyone, I was just moving on with what happened,” says Elika Gholizadeh.

RELATED: Racist tensions rise in Metro Vancouver park spat over berry branch, Coquitlam mayor offended

The woman told the two young women of colour to, “Go back to where they came from,” while visiting Minnekhada Regional Park. This stemmed from the woman taking issue with the teens for severing a branch with some berries.

Gholizadeh says she was born in Canada, and it was shocking to hear those comments.

“It was very surprising for me initially. After it was kind of upsetting,” the university student says.

“No one has the right to talk to people like that. Obviously it was in the heat of the moment, but in times of anger you should be able to think before you saying something, especially something you might regret.”

Video of the heated exchange was posted to Facebook Sunday.

Content warning: This video contains language some people may find offensive. Viewer discretion is advised.

some racist lady came up to my daughter Elika and her friend Sara when they were on a hike at Minnekhada regional park because they were eating berries from a branch! She had no right….

Posted by Azita Ebadati on Sunday, June 28, 2020

The woman in question since reached out to NEWS 1130 to say she tried to wait at the end of the trail in an attempt to say sorry in person.

“I did lose my head,” she said. “Afterwards, I wanted to apologize to the two girls because I got really angry, and I made a comment I should not have made.”

“It popped out of my mouth because of the current climate,” she explained. “I should have never even said any of that stuff … I think it’s unfortunate that it escalated.”

Gholizadeh says she accepts the woman’s apology.

“With everything going on, people should be able to learn from their mistakes and take the time to educate themselves, and educate everyone around them on these matters.”

The video drew the ire of Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart, who says while emotions can run high in these instances, telling someone to go back to where they came from is never appropriate.