Vancouver councillor introduces motion to push back on racism, hate crimes

Jun 4 2020, 12:29 pm

A City Councillor has introduced a motion calling for a stand against racism and hate crimes in Vancouver.

The motion, introduced by Councillor Sarah Kirby-Yung, discusses the “deeply disturbing increase” in anti-Asian racism and hate crimes.

Kirby-Yung’s motion says that the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) has opened 29 investigative files for anti-Asian crime compared to four during the same time last year, “equating to a 640% increase.”

She points out that victims of these incidents include seniors and women. In addition to assaults, there’s also been a noticeable rise in hateful graffiti, such as on the Millennium Gate in Chinatown, which was vandalized twice over the past several weeks.

“People of Asian descent are citing fears of going out for dread of being attacked, and Asians of other cultural backgrounds are citing fear of being mistaken for being Chinese,” writes Kirby-Yung.

The councillor also referenced an anti-Asian attack that occurred in Vancouver last May, except the victim wasn’t Asian. An Indigenous girl was reportedly yelled at and punched by a suspect who told her to “go back to Asia.”

The motion also discusses the protests that have taken place in Vancouver demanding justice for George Floyd, including a massive demonstration that drew thousands to the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Kirby-Yung says that while there’s been an increase in foot patrols and surveillance to counter racism, there’s also a growing need for all levels of government to combat the matter as well.

“Left unchecked, hate is insidious,” she writes. “Currently, anti-Asian racism is most publicly reported, but racism impacts other racialized communities and it spreads like a virus and it impacts us all.”

The motion calls for the federal government to advance work on Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy, as well as focusing on areas of education, bystander awareness, and victim support.

Kirby-Yung also calls for city staff to develop and anti-racism and hate strategy and roll out a public awareness campaign that “condemns all racism and hate crimes in our city.”

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