RACHNA Singh, Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives, said in a statement on Friday in response to the federal government’s decision to ban direct flights from India and Pakistan in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19: “The past year has been challenging for all of us, particularly for racialized communities who have been impacted by a rise in incidents of racism. For 12 long months, we have been separated from friends and family, always living with the stress of COVID-19 at the back of our minds.
“Throughout the pandemic we’ve seen specific communities scapegoated and targeted by hate crimes – Asian communities and Indigenous peoples. I know there is a lot of stress in the South Asian community for their loved ones back home. The concern as to whether their community will be targeted next only adds to that stress during this difficult time.
“As a society, we have a decision to make about which side of history we want to be on. We must take a stand against racism and we must not let stereotypes prevail. The stress of the pandemic does not give anyone the right to spread prejudice and hate. This is about fighting the COVID-19 virus, not our fellow British Columbians.
“We are all in this together and we must have empathy and understanding for our fellow British Columbians during this uncertain time. After all, we are facing the same pandemic.
“Our government stands alongside anyone in our province who is facing racism. Should you become the victim of a hate crime, I encourage you to report it to your local police department or reach out to the Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network for support.”
For more information on what to do if you see or are the victim of hate crime, visit: www.resiliencebc.ca