We must all stand up against virus-inspired hate crimes


Since the start of this pandemic, racism has been bubbling below the surface with a pattern of anti-Asian violence around the globe. It is alarming to witness an increase in frequency of acts of hate and racism.

Canadian cities are no exception to this hate crime wave. Several racially motivated incidents are in the news lately and perhaps many are not even reported.

Prejudice and discrimination have a long history, dating back to the beginning of its settlement. Same dark history is repeating in the present crisis.

Fear of pandemic is no excuse for hate. It is disheartening to hear many ugly incidents such as a racial attack on elderly Vancouver man outside a convenience store caught on camera or an Asian woman assaulted on a public transit bus. There have been more than a dozen incidents in Greater Vancouver.

Race, ethnicity and skin colour are no basis for discrimination. We all live on same earth. COVID-19 is a virus without borders. Equality is constitutionally protected in our country’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We take pride to be Canadians living in a remarkable country as one of the best in the world.

People of all races deserve and have a right to live in harmony without fear. Politicians should speak out more vocally against any act of racial prejudice and violence against minorities, especially in these stressful times. Thanks to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier John Horgan who have taken a clear and strong stand against racism.

Horgan is right in saying that everyone has a right to live without fear of violence or discrimination. It is unacceptable hearing disturbing stories of the rise in anti-Asian racist behaviour. Hate has no place in our province and it will not be tolerated. Our strength is our diversity.

Everyone needs to come together for one common purpose to respect all and work collectively to eradicate this virus from spreading and make our global village a better, safer place to live. Let cool heads prevail and commit to celebrate our differences and keep Canada the envy of all nations.

It is incumbent on all of us to take a stand against any form of discrimination against humanity. If you don’t speak up. You are siding with perpetrator.

Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel stated very nicely: “Always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

Gian Sihota

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