Gina Chong and her friend Tiffany Tong were harassed by a woman hurling anti-Asian remarks while they were walking in Lafarge Park in Coquitlam, British Columbia on April 15.
The women filmed the encounter.
A woman had approached the two women and asked them to take a photo of her using her phone.
However, Chong declined the request out of caution due to the pandemic and explained to the lady why she did not want to touch her phone.
That should have been the end of the discussion, but it wasn't.
Upset over being turned down for her request, the lady went on an anti-Asian tirade and allegedly responded with:
"You know this [the virus] is all because of you... you need to go back China. It came from your country."
@GlobalBC To react this way because nobody wanted to take her pic? Next time, just take a selfie, no need to be so mean. Wow!— Jay Keys (@Jay Keys) 1618703517.0
Shocked at experiencing racism in her own community, Chong began recording her encounter with the woman and posted the footage on her Facebook page, which you can see here.
Chong told City News 1130:
"We asked her if she could repeat that [on camera], and obviously she didn't want to. But she made some rude remarks. She said again, 'it came from your country.'"
Chong added the park was busy that early evening and a group of people nearby observed what was happening.
A person's voice was heard in the recording telling the disruptive woman:
"Don't be racist. We all bleed the same."
Chong appreciated the bystander for defending her.
"It was nice to see that there was someone that was speaking out for us," she said, adding, "it would have been nice if more people spoke up."
Looking back, Chong said of her unnerving encounter:
"We just stopped in our tracks; we were just floored at what she said."
"I was born here, I'm as Canadian as Canadian can be."
@GlobalBC This is unacceptable, a lot of British Columbia’s grew up in multi culture neighbourhoods. Most work rea… https://t.co/P6c2kiIp1y— Judie (@Judie) 1618696078.0
Chong—who has lived in Port Moody all her life—said she experienced incidences of racism when she was younger "but nothing since."
"So, this definitely came out of nowhere, and it was completely unexpected."
"To be honest I didn't think it would happen in this community and I never thought it would happen to myself, but it did."
Chong ended her Facebook post with:
"I know this is not reflective of the beautiful community we live in and a place where I was born and raised. I personally have not experienced much racism growing up here but that's not to say it doesn't exist."
"My intent is not to find out who she is... but I think it's important to let people know this can happen to anyone in our community and that there are good people out there who stand up and defend others."
@GlobalBC I know the girl that this disgusting woman said racist 💩 to... this troll is an immigant that has an acce… https://t.co/WXCxylAlA9— JennaPitt (@JennaPitt) 1618693665.0
Growing up as an Asian woman in Western society, Chong said she was raised to "stay silent, not to speak out and not to stir the pot."
"I think this has to change," she said.
I'm so sick of the racists in BC. There are simply too many of them, and they feel emboldened. ‘It came from your… https://t.co/BA8tz9QyK7— David Walsh (@David Walsh) 1618693360.0
Chong hopes to use the opportunity to speak out for the Asian youth and senior citizens in her community who feel they don't have a voice.
"I have two young daughters. I want them to speak out for themselves and also to defend others. And I really do hope anyone that witnesses … something like this speak up as well."
Meanwhile, she has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support on social media.
"I've been inundated with so many messages from people I don't even know, just concerned about what has happened and apologizing and saying that definitely shouldn't have happened," said Chong.
"So it's really heartwarming to know that there are people out there that really do care about this type of situation and this Asian hate that's happening right now."
According to the Burnaby Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), hate crimes involving Asian victims in the Tri-Cities area have increased by 350% from six to 27 reports between 2019 and 2020.
The RCMP confirmed the anti-Asian offenses include property damage, such as offensive graffiti, threats, and assaults.