‘No more hate and hurt’ was the message at Penticton rally against Asian racism

Around 150 people came out to rally against Asian racism at a protest at Gyro Park on Sunday. (Monique Tamminga Western News)Around 150 people came out to rally against Asian racism at a protest at Gyro Park on Sunday. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Organizers of Sunday’s rally against Asian racism make heart shapes with their hands to show love, not hate is needed. (Monique Tamminga Western News)Organizers of Sunday’s rally against Asian racism make heart shapes with their hands to show love, not hate is needed. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Rally organizer Yaxin Ma makes a heart with her hands a symbol of sharing love not hate during the rally at Gyro Park on Sunday. (Monique Tamminga Western News)Rally organizer Yaxin Ma makes a heart with her hands a symbol of sharing love not hate during the rally at Gyro Park on Sunday. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
A Canadian Asian who moved here in 2016 spoke of her worry for her two year old daughter who was born in Penticton but might face racism one day.A Canadian Asian who moved here in 2016 spoke of her worry for her two year old daughter who was born in Penticton but might face racism one day.
A prayer was said for those who died in racist violence and for everyone.A prayer was said for those who died in racist violence and for everyone.
Around 150 people came out to rally against Asian racism at a protest at Gyro Park on Sunday. (Monique Tamminga Western News)Around 150 people came out to rally against Asian racism at a protest at Gyro Park on Sunday. (Monique Tamminga Western News)

Around 150 people came out to denounce racism against Asians at a rally held at Gyro Park on Sunday afternoon.

Members of the Okanagan Asian community spoke to the crowd about their lived experiences with racism and their hope for hate to end. Most spoke to noticing an uptick in hate against Asians since the pandemic began.

Penticton Catholic priest Father Obi, who is originally from Nigeria, said a prayer for the six Asian women who were killed in the Atlanta shootings. He then read their names and led the crowd in a moving song of ‘Amazing Grace.’ The crowd also sung along.

Students from Holy Cross School opened the rally by singing O Canada.

A Holy Cross student named Christian, who is half Asian, spoke about his concern with the increase of racism and what happened in Atlanta.

“What if that was my mother?” he said to the crowd.

Shu-Li, a front-line health worker, spoke of his experiences with racism as a young child where a rock was thrown at his head and he was told to go home to where he came from. His great-great grandfather had to pay a head tax to the Canadian government for building the railroad here.

“My heart goes out to all the victims who died for no reason. I can feel their pain,” said Shu-Li. “Because of the COVID-19, it has changed all of our daily lives and the world has put the blame on the Asian people.”

“Are we not human? We will stand up against hate. No more hate and no more hurt,” he said.

Mona, who helped organize the rally, said she got messages of hate, denying her lived experience of racism.

“Asian history is barely taught in schools. Our people had to endure internment camps, head tax and the exclusion act. Just like the history of Indigenous peoples, our history has been erased.”

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel spoke to the crowd in support of the Asian community and how the Indigenous people stand with them in their fight against racism.

A mom, who came to Penticton in 2016, said she worries for her two year old daughter who was born here but may face racism in the future.

“She will grow up here and was born here but of course she looks Asian. She has yellow skin and black hair. I can’t imagine how 10 years later, how would I explain to her why people hate her? Thinking about this is very disturbing.

“A lot of racism comes from lack of understanding and ignorance so I’d like to take this time to ask our Asian Canadians to volunteer, get to know your neighbours, get involved in the community to let others understand us more.”

In Vancouver, police data shows anti-Asian hate crimes have risen by 717 per cent since the start of the pandemic. Anti-racism is highest in B.C., contributing 44 per cent.

Some spoke of how they have been blamed for the pandemic and how we should be fighting the common enemy, COVID-19, not each other.

Yaxin Ma, of the Okanagan Chinese Canadian Association who organized this rally and others, said that despite being a small community Penticton is not immune to racism.

Anti-Asian hate crimes have been on the rise across North America since the start of the pandemic. But it was recent events in Atlanta that became the catalyst behind many rallies to stop anti-Asian hate crimes across the continent.

A series of shootings over nearly an hour on March 16 at three Atlanta-area massage parlours left eight people dead, six of whom were Asian women. Since then, rallies have been held to end anti-Asian hate crimes throughout the U.S.

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki, Summerland mayor Toni Boot, Peachland mayor Cindy Fortin and South Okanagan—West Kootenay MP Richard Cannings also spoke at the rally.

READ ALSO: Racist vandalism hits Penticton Chinese community building

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen will speed up the process for hospitality businesses looking to set up patios during the latest COVID-19 restrictions. Under the most recent restrictions, indoor dining is prohibited, but patio dining is allowed. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen speeds up patio permit approval

Initiative to help hospitality businesses affected by latest COVID-19 restrictions

Firefighters responded to a house fire on Banks Crescent in Summerland on Friday afternoon. The fire began as a stovetop fire but resulted in significant damages. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Fire results in damage to Summerland home

Crews called on Friday, April 9 following stovetop fire

B.C's COVID-19 dashboard shows the peaks and valleys of cases prior to the record daily report of 132 on April 9, 2021. (Dashboard image)
Interior Health has record day of COVID-19 cases

132 cases reported Friday, April 9, more deaths in Vernon hospital outbreak

The Town of Oliver’s Town Offices, which the town wants to get designated a heritage site. (Black Press)
Oliver council to weigh nixing alerts for water leaks

Staff say the policy has served its purpose in fixing the majority of leaks

(Stock photo)
Snow levels above normal in Okanagan

Spring temperatures, rainfall will affect risk of flooding

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Sun Peaks is tracking rising COVID-19 cases. (Kamloops This Week Photo)
Sun Peaks sees spike in COVID-19 cases at end of ski season

On April 9, there were 15 positive cases confirmed.

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

Winter driving conditions returned to the Coquihalla Highway on April 10. (ICBC image)
Coquihalla motorists warned of fresh snow

Five to 10 cm of snow is expected today for the mountain highway.

Penticton Christian School. (Facebook)
COVID-19 exposure at South Okanagan independent school

The exposures are the latest in a quickly growing list in the Interior

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

Most Read