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Hundreds attend Vancouver rally against anti-Asian racism

Click to play video: 'Hundreds attend a rally to Stop Anti-Asian Hate in Downtown Vancouver' Hundreds attend a rally to Stop Anti-Asian Hate in Downtown Vancouver
The demonstration coincides with other protests across the country, protesting against the increasing sentiment of hate against those of Asian descent. Paul Johnson reports on the Art Gallery protest – Mar 28, 2021

Hundreds turned out to the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday in a show of solidarity against anti-Asian racism.

Similar rallies were held in Penticton, the Tri-Cities, Toronto, Montreal and Calgary.

Read more: Atlanta shootings puts spotlight back on surge in B.C. anti-Asian racism

The event came in the wake of a multiple shooting in Atlanta, GA., that many have labeled a hate crime, and amid a surge in anti-Asian racism at home in British Columbia.

Click to play video: 'Flood of anti-Asian comments following wedding of Eileen Park to former Vancouver Mayor' Flood of anti-Asian comments following wedding of Eileen Park to former Vancouver Mayor
Flood of anti-Asian comments following wedding of Eileen Park to former Vancouver Mayor – Mar 22, 2021

“I’ve been in Canada for 49 years, I’ve spent most of my life here, this is the only home I know, but I’ve never felt 100 per cent at home,” rally attendee Andrew Li told Global News.

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“In the recent past year with the pandemic, there has been ever-growing fear-mongering and hatred towards Asians.”

Read more: New publication delves into racist history as B.C. prepare to turn 150 years old

Statistics presented to the Vancouver Police Board in January showed anti-Asian hate crimes were up 717 per cent in the city in 2020.

Over the last year, there have been multiple reports of racist incidents, ranging from verbal harassment and graffiti to spitting incidents and outright assaults.

Click to play video: 'What can British Columbians expect from anti-racism legislation and how will it impact them?' What can British Columbians expect from anti-racism legislation and how will it impact them?
What can British Columbians expect from anti-racism legislation and how will it impact them? – Feb 18, 2021

Binci Lai told Global News anti-Asian racism has always been present in Canada, though socially submerged.

“Growing up there was a lot of racism, even though it’s minimized by a lot of jokes … a lot of people don’t acknowledge racism, it’s silenced and used as a way to pit us against other minorities. A lot of it is covert and microaggressions,” she said.

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Read more: Anti-Asian racism in Canada more ‘frequent’ as report tallies hundreds of attacks during pandemic

Lai grew up in Vancouver, but like Li, said she always felt Asians weren’t fully accepted in Canada, adding both Asian men and women are subjected to racist stereotypes of submissiveness and femininity.

She said the twin pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic and former U.S. president Donald Trump’s anti-Chinese rhetoric have served to push it to the surface.

“Racism has always been here, has always been alive, but it was swept under the rug,” she said.

“The pandemic and a lot of comments from Trump calling COVID the ‘China virus,’ the ‘Kung Flu virus’, has exacerbated the racism and has made it more overt and more physical.”

In February, B.C. Premier John Horgan said an anti-racism bill being developed by his government was nearing its “final form” and would head to the legislature soon.

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