Coronavirus: Vancouver woman punched for sneezing in racist attack


An Aboriginal woman from Vancouver says she is the latest victim of a racist attack caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dakota Holmes told Global News that she was walking her dog Kato at Gray’s Park near 33rd Avenue and Fraser Street when a nearby man heard her sneeze.

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“He came and assumed I was Asian and yelled all these racist slurs at me and then hit me in the face,” she said.

Holmes’ dog, Kato, intervened and frightened the man, but Holmes ended up with visible bruises on his face.

Vancouver police said they were called to a potentially racist attack in the area around 8:30 p.m.

The case has been referred to the diversity section of the VPD and is being investigated by hate crime investigators.

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“As a police service, we work hard to build strong relationships with marginalized groups in our community and encourage all those who have been victims of hatred, bigotry or discrimination to call us,” said Sgt. Aaron Roed.

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“Hate crimes and hate incidents have always been largely underreported.”

Roed said no one was arrested during the incident.

“It’s crazy, it’s ridiculous that even with COVID-19 and everything that’s going on, racism has resumed, if anything,” said Holmes.

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“You hear it on the news, you see it, you read it, you never think it will happen to you. “

City of Vancouver Denounces Racism

City of Vancouver Denounces Racism

Holmes’ father is a special adviser to Prime Minister John Horgan, and she is an employee of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs (UBCIC).

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The UBCIC issued a statement condemning the attack on Sunday.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, Asian communities experienced an unacceptable, ugly and deeply disturbing increase in racism,” the organization said.

“This trend reflects the harsh reality that people of color face disproportionately high risks to their physical and mental survival every day, a risk that has been heightened by dangerous, false messages on COVID-19. “

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Vancouver police seek help in identifying hate crime suspect

There has been a disturbing increase in incidents of anti-Asian racism in the Greater Vancouver area since the start of the pandemic, ranging from graffiti to verbal harassment to violent assault.

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According to Vancouver police, as of May 1, 20 anti-Asian hate crimes had been reported in the first four months of the year, up from 12 for the whole of 2019.

Holmes says the trend shows that it is more important than ever to speak out against racism and that targeted people come forward and share their stories.

“We are all in the same boat,” she said.

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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