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Burnaby proclaims Day of Action Against Asian Racism after 350% spike in hate crimes

Declaration follows rise in anti-Asian hate crimes
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Burnaby council has passed a proclamation declaring May 10 a Day of Action Against Asian Racism.

The decision was in response to a plea from the group Stand With Asians Coalition and Burnaby resident Doris Mah, who are planning events for that day to raise awareness about the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes.

“As a racialized woman of Asian descent, I have experienced numerous racist incidents because of the colour of my skin,” wrote in a recent letter to the NOW. “I have been stopped while driving, in the middle of the road, by a white man telling me to go back to China. My elderly mother has also experienced hostile stares and verbal assaults on public transit. We must condemn all forms of hate in public spaces as it creates unsafe conditions for members of the Asian, Black, Indigenous, people of colour, and racialized communities.”

Burnaby has seen a dramatic spike in anti-Asian hate crimes, with Burnaby RCMP detailing a 350% jump in such offences during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2019, the detachment responded to six hate crimes with an Asian victim or target – that number jumped to 27 in 2020, police said.

Of all the hate-motivated offences reported to police in 2020, 63% (27 out of 43) were identified as having an Asian victim or target – that was up from 30% (six out of 20) in 2019.

Burnaby’s top cop, Supt. Graham De la gorgendiere, said the incidents have ranged from property damage, including offensive graffiti, to threats and assaults.

“Throughout the past year, our officers have continued to monitor this increase,” he said. “When notified of a possible hate crime, our officers are instructed to respond and conduct a thorough investigation. Victims of these offences can be reassured that their complaint will be taken seriously.”

The detachment has collaborated with the North Road Business Improvement Association and the City of Burnaby to distribute hate-crime awareness posters throughout the city in English, simplified Chinese, Punjabi and Korean in an effort to encourage victims of anti-Asian hate crimes to report incidents to police.

To learn more about what hate crimes are and what you can do if you are a victim or a witness to a hate crime, visit the province's Hate Has No Place in B.C. website.

  • With additional reporting by Cornelia Naylor