‘It makes me sick’: Locals weigh in on Kelowna’s string of high-profile racist incidents

Click to play video: 'Local reaction to Kelowna’s string of racist incidents'
Local reaction to Kelowna’s string of racist incidents
Local reaction to Kelowna’s string of racist incidents – Nov 4, 2021

Local citizens in Kelowna offered their viewpoints on Thursday regarding a string of racist incidents within the past week.

The first incident was a Halloween display, which included an effigy of a body hanging from a tree near a Confederate flag.

A few days later, anti-Chinese graffiti defaced a Korean restaurant near Glenmore.

And on Halloween, a man was caught on camera shouting racist remarks to women who were not speaking English on a bus.

Global News asked the public their thoughts on the incidents.

“I’m appalled by it and it makes me sick,” said Lyle Painchaud.

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“I don’t think they are even human, I think they need a check on reality. It’s not fair, it’s not fair what they are doing.”

“It’s sad, obviously. I think it’s really discouraging, like how these things are happening and continue to happen,” said Michelle Adrian.

“It’s unfortunate that these people view others as not human and as like some other entity.”

Click to play video: 'Extended interview with Kelowna’s Artist in Residence Lady Dia'
Extended interview with Kelowna’s Artist in Residence Lady Dia

Kelowna’s artist in residence, an African woman from Zambia, gave her thoughts on the recent racist incidents. Lady Dia co-founded the first Black and Indigenous women organization in the Okanagan.

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“This is a state of emergency, this is urgent,” Dia told Global News.

“Peoples’ lives are on the line and a lot of people don’t feel the urgency because it’s not their lives on the line.”

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Dia is a local activist for Indigenous Black and people of colour and was selected as the City of Kelowna’s artist in residence.

Click to play video: 'Combatting anti-Asian racism through film and media'
Combatting anti-Asian racism through film and media

Her home is often used as a safe haven for people of colour, and she is no stranger to racism in Kelowna.

“At my house, the car was parked in the driveway and the back window was smashed and someone wrote the n-word across the back,” said Dia.

“And I just looked around and I was like ‘Oh my god, who’s here not vibing with us here.’”

Global News has heard from many people in the community regarding the Halloween display, saying the display was taken out of context.

Dia rebutted that, though, saying “racism is not only systemic, racism is cultural. It’s in the very being on how someone engages. It’s a culture and that is why they are having a very difficult time (understanding) because they have to look at themselves and they cannot.”

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Click to play video: 'This is BC: B.C. supergroup using music to fight anti-Asian racism'
This is BC: B.C. supergroup using music to fight anti-Asian racism

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