Advertisement

‘It hurts my heart’: Vancouver nurse says she was target of racist remarks during anti-vaccine card rally

Click to play video: 'Vancouver nurse target of verbal racist assault during downtown rally' Vancouver nurse target of verbal racist assault during downtown rally
A Vancouver nurse is speaking out after she was the target of a racist verbal attack during an anti-vaccine card rally. And as Kamil Karamali reports, she says incidents and rallies such as these ones are pushing her, and her colleagues, to the brink – Sep 21, 2021

A Vancouver nurse says she was the target of an anti-Asian verbal assault amid a rally protesting B.C.’s vaccine card program.

Amy Huang was downtown recently after a shift at Vancouver General Hospital.

Click to play video: 'Anti-vaccine and mandate protesters disrupt B.C. schools' Anti-vaccine and mandate protesters disrupt B.C. schools
Anti-vaccine and mandate protesters disrupt B.C. schools – Sep 17, 2021

She said she was on her way to visit a friend amid a challenging time at work that saw her care for a COVID-19 patient whose condition had taken a turn for the worse.

Story continues below advertisement

 

“I don’t know if (they’re) going to make it or not. So it was a very emotional (time) for me,” she said.

As she walked to meet a friend at the Wedgewood Hotel, she noticed a so-called “freedom rally” taking place outside the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Click to play video: 'Hospitals feeling the pressure as COVID-19 cases rise' Hospitals feeling the pressure as COVID-19 cases rise
Hospitals feeling the pressure as COVID-19 cases rise – Sep 10, 2021

“I took a sharp left and I tried to walk away from all of that madness,” Huang recalled.

As she waited outside the hotel, she saw what she called an “anti-vaccine conspiracy poster” on a car and decided to take it down.

“I don’t know if it was just the frustration or the feelings of burnout over the last few months, but I wanted to take that poster down.”

Story continues below advertisement

Huang said the driver then came out of the car and made a racist remark.

“I thought he was going to hit me in my face because that’s how angry he was,” she said. “And then he looked at me [up and down] and in an instant, he said, ‘Go back to China.’

“I’ve never had anybody speak to me like that before. It hurts my heart to know that there are people out there that believe that just by looking at me that I’m a foreigner. I don’t belong here.”

Click to play video: 'B.C. doctors debunk misinformation spread at ‘health freedom’ protests' B.C. doctors debunk misinformation spread at ‘health freedom’ protests
B.C. doctors debunk misinformation spread at ‘health freedom’ protests – Sep 5, 2021

Police have noted a rise in anti-Asian racism amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, Vancouver police reported a 717-per-cent increase in hate crimes against East Asians from 2019 to 2020.

Story continues below advertisement

Vancouver police said there were no arrests or major issues associated with the protest, although there were traffic disruptions.

Huang said she regrets taking the poster down and swearing at the man after he made his remark. She said she wants to apologize to him if he is willing to apologize to her.

“I wish I just didn’t even try to engage them in the first place,” she said. “But you have to understand that it’s very frustrating for me to see that as a nurse, because we work so hard day in and day out to keep these patients alive. And then here they are out in the streets.”

Huang said health-care colleagues are exhausted as they work through a pandemic that seems never-ending. Recent protests outside B.C. hospitals have only made things worse.

Read more: ‘It’s despicable’: Reaction pours in after protesters target B.C. hospitals over ‘health freedom’

“We’re feeling extremely demoralized,” she said. “We’re feeling very disrespected. It feels like a slap in the face. After working so hard for the past year and a half, putting our physical, spiritual, and mental wellbeing on the line, putting ourselves and our families at risk, taking a risk for contracting the virus — it just feels insulting.

“It’s been physically, emotionally and spiritually draining on all of us, but we do the best we can.”

Story continues below advertisement

— With files from Kamil Karamali

Sponsored content