‘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

Windsurfers enjoying a windstorm on Skaha Lake in Penticton on March 28, 2021. (Sandy Steck Photography)
Wind warning issued for Okanagan Valley

Boaters are being warned of gusts up to 70 km/h by late afternoon on Sunday

Vernon Vipers forward Ryan Shostak (centre) fends off a check from Salmon Arm defenceman to get a close-in scoring attempt on Silverbacks goalie Owen Say during Vernon’s 3-2 B.C. Hockey League pod play shootout victory Saturday, April 17, at Kal Tire Place. (Lisa Mazurek - Vernon Vipers photography)
Vernon Vipers use shootout to subdue Salmon Arm

Snakes score 3-2 B.C. Hockey League pod play win at Kal Tire Place

Coldstream Fire Department crews stationed at Kal Lake Provincial Park parking lot on Cosens Bay Road on Sunday, April 18, after a car went over a cliff in the area. (Roger Knox - Morning Star)
Driver escapes after car goes over cliff in Coldstream near Kal Lake Park

The driver has been transported to hospital with unspecified injuries

A GoFundMe page has been launched for a Vernon man whose BX orchard property home off Pleasant Valley Road near Stickle Road was totally destroyed in a fire Saturday, April 17. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Fundraising campaign launched for Vernon man who lost home to fire

A GoFundMe page has been started by family; man taken to hospital with injuries from fire

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A Kelowna Pride Festival 2019 participant holds up a flag. (Kelowna Pride Society)
Kelowna Pride, RCMP continue to work on ‘Safe Place Program’

A new committee has been formed to refine the ‘Safe Place Program’ created by the Kelowna RCMP

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A strange odour at a West Kelowna apartment building prompted the evacuation of 150 residents on Sunday morning, April 18. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
Strange smell at West Kelowna apartment prompts evacuation of 150 residents, pets

150 residents ordered evacuated from a West Kelowna apartment building early Sunday morning

This is what’s left of a truck that caught fire at Pyramid Provincial Park off Highway 97 near Summerland Saturday night. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Photo Gallery: Truck gutted by fire at popular Okanagan park, trees saved

Just a metal shell of what once was a pick up truck is left at the scene

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Most Read