A Vancouver nurse says she is the target of anti-Asian verbal attack amid a rally protesting BC’s vaccination card program.
Amy Huang was downtown on September 18 after a shift at Vancouver General Hospital.
She said she was on her way to meet a friend amid a challenging time at work caring for a COVID-19 patient whose condition had worsened.
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“I thought she was really fine, but at the end of my last shift it turned out that she was being transferred to the intensive care unit,” she said.
âI don’t know if she’ll make it or not. So it was a very emotional week for me. “
When she met a friend at the Wedgewood Hotel, she noticed a so-called “freedom rally” that was being held in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery.
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âI made a sharp left turn and tried to escape all this madness,â recalls Huang.
While waiting 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 burnout feeling of the last few months, but I wanted to take this poster away.”
Huang said the driver then got out of the car and made a racist remark.
“I thought he was going to punch me in the face because he was so angry,” she said. âAnd then he looked at me [up and down] and immediately he said, ‘Go back to China.’
âI’ve never had anyone talk to me like that before. It hurts my heart to know that there are people who believe that I am a foreigner just by looking at me. I do not belong here.”
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Police have noted a surge in anti-Asian racism amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, Vancouver police reported a 717 percent increase in hate crimes against East Asians from 2019 to 2020.
Vancouver Police said there were no arrests or major problems related to the September 18 protests, despite traffic incidents.
Huang said she regretted taking off the poster and berating the man after he made his remark. She said she would apologize to him when he was ready to apologize to her.
“I wish I hadn’t tried to hire her in the first place,” she said. âBut you have to understand that as a nurse it is very frustrating for me to see this because we work so hard every day to keep these patients alive. And then they’re out here on the street. “
Huang said health care colleagues are exhausted as they work through a pandemic that seems never to end. The recent protests outside BC hospitals only made things worse.
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“We feel extremely demoralized,” she said. âWe feel very disrespectful. It feels like a slap in the face. After working so hard for the past year and a half, jeopardizing our physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing, putting ourselves and our families at risk, and taking the risk of contracting the virus – it just feels offensive.
“It has drained us all physically, emotionally and spiritually, but we’re doing our best.”
– With files from Kamil Karamali
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