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Anti-Asian hate rally hopes to garner support from Coquitlam residents

Lincoln SkyTrain station will be a backdrop for one of five mini rallies in B.C. on May 10 — National Day of Action Against Anti-Asian Racism.

May 10 marks the National Day of Action Against Anti-Asian Racism.

This is the second year of the annual recognition in which hundreds of supporters will stand at SkyTrain stations and parks across Metro Vancouver encouraging local residents to stop Asian hate.

A mini rally in the Tri-Cities is being organized for Tuesday (May 10) by the Stand With Asians Coalition (SWAC).

The inaugural event in 2021 featured a pair of rallies in Port Moody and Coquitlam — two of 13 across the Lower Mainland.

This time, five are set to be conducted in Coquitlam, Burnaby, Surrey, Vancouver and Mission.

"It was really heartwarming to see that there were so many of us out there," SWAC founder Doris Mah said in an interview with Glacier Media last year. 

"This is when people come together and say, 'We’re all in this together,' because we are all hurting. We’re not pointing fingers, we’re just demanding the government to have stronger action."

The 2022 Day of Action rally is set to take place at Lincoln SkyTrain Station in Coquitlam beginning at 5 p.m.

May is also declared Asian Heritage Month across Canada.

Hate-crime reporting

According to Coquitlam RCMP, there were 20 reported incidents of hate-motivated crime across the detachment's jurisdiction — up from 17 in 2020 and 11 and in 2019.

The category includes incidents of Asian hate and studies suggest the spike stems, in part, from the COVID-19 pandemic.

For Port Moody resident Gina Chong, she was confronted by a woman in Town Centre Park in April 2021 after she refused to take her photo because of physical distancing recommendations.

In response, the woman clapped back, "You know this COVID is all because of you. You need to go back China."

"I feel like, after the incident, I have been given the opportunity to speak out about Asian hate,” Chong told the Tri-City News on the May 10 National Day of Action Against Anti-Asian Racism last year.

"When the incident happened, I was just inundated with stories from friends and strangers. It really opened my eyes to all the stories not being told in my community. No one ever talks about it."

On that same day Chong was confronted, Mounties in Burnaby reported a 350 per cent increase in racially motivated offences during the first year of COVID-19.

And 63 per cent (27 out of 43) of the incidents identified as having an Asian victim or target — up from 30 per cent (six out of 20) in 2019.

In March this year, Coquitlam RCMP announced it was joining a pilot program with Mounties in North Vancouver to make it easier for local residents to report hate-motivated incidents through an online tool.

This includes threats, slurs or insults based on race, gender or sexual orientation, which are not defined as a criminal offence.

Hate crimes, meanwhile, involve inciting hatred and often involve something physical, such as an assault or damage to property.

These incidents can't be reported online and should be reported to the RCMP at 604-945-1550

- with files from Diane Strandberg, Tri-City News, Jess Balzer and Cornelia Naylor, Burnaby NOW

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