VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Vancouver will be the site of simultaneous “Stop Anti-Asian Hate” rallies across the country following Atlanta’s mass shootings.
On Mar. 17, a white man Robert Aaron Long was charged with killing eight people — including six women of Asian descent — at three Atlanta-area massage parlours. The attack has sent terror through the Asian American community, which has increasingly been targeted during the coronavirus pandemic.
Karmina Cordero, an anti-Asian hate advocate from Burnaby, tells NEWS 1130 that Sunday’s local rally is a great opportunity for people of Asian descent and allies who want to speak up against the rise of hate crimes impacting the community.
Just last month, Vancouver Police Board shared a stunning 717 per cent increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in 2020 compared to 2019. General hate crimes doubled in the same timeframe.
Vancouver police said last year that the spike in anti-Asian hate crimes coincided with the increases in COVID-19 cases last March, but it’s unclear if the two are directly linked.
For the first time, Cordero says she’s felt unsafe, especially reading statistics and headlines over the past few months.
“I’m just staying home — kind of like a birdcage feeling,” she said. “I just don’t want to be out there because I just don’t know when and what will happen.”
However, she says published statistics has given her hope people will be more cognizant and lend a hand to the people who need it.
“I truly believe that this isn’t segregating any community. This is really bringing a community together. We’re all part of the city, we’re multicultural. That’s what really makes up Canada.”
To mourn the people killed and oppose discrimination against the Asian community, people will be gathering outside the Vancouver Art Gallery around 2:00 p.m.
The victims of the Atlanta-area shootings were: Yong Ae Yue, 63, cooked homemade Korean dishes for her family; Sencha Kim, 69, volunteered for charities; Soon Chung Park, a former dancer, remained youthful and fit at age 74; Xiaojie “Emily” Tan, 49, was an entrepreneur who owned Youngs Asian Massage and other businesses; Daoyou Feng, 44, was one of her employees; Delaina Yaun, 33, was a new mother; Paul Michels, 54, installed security systems; and Hyun Jung Grant, 51, worked at Gold Spa to support two sons.
Among the people set to speak at Sunday’s rally is Eileen Park. Last Sunday, she posted a video detailing the torrent of sexist, racist abuse that followed a magazine feature about her wedding to former Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson.
On Twitter, Park says she’ll be speaking about standing in solidarity with Black Lives Matter.
– With files from Nikitha Martins, Bethlehem Mariam, Kurtis Doering, Denise Wong and The Associated Press