Citytv examines how systemic racism affects the daily lives of Black, Indigenous, and people of colour in Canada. Below is the fourth story. Bookmark this page to read and watch the previous and upcoming stories.
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Deputy Chief Const. Howard Chow has been with the Vancouver Police Department for more than three decades.
He was number nine of all Chinese officers ever hired.
Now, the force has more than 200 Chinese officers.
A walk through the city’s Chinatown brings back many memories for Chow.
“I think our city, this year, has changed dramatically.”
“Vancouver’s Chinatown is one of the oldest and one of the largest in North America,” he says. “[The] Chinese community has been a very big part in building Vancouver into what it is.”
But Chow says Chinatown is different now.
“Chinatown used to be thriving: lots of vitality, exciting, very safe … It was just really the hub for the Chinese community and it’s changed. And I think our city, this year, has changed dramatically.”
“Being of Chinese descent, how would I not find that completely hurtful?”
Vancouver saw an 878 per cent increase in hate-related incidents against Asian people in the months following the start of the pandemic.
The incidents included an elderly man with dementia thrown to the ground outside a convenience store, a minor sucker-punched on the street in broad daylight, and vandalism against numerous cultural sites in Chinatown.
“Being of Chinese descent, how would I not find that completely hurtful?” Chow says. “I’m very proud of my heritage, of my culture and when you look at the population of Vancouver, 28 per cent of us are Chinese.”
“I think that’s the charm of the city. We’ve got this good blend of cultures, and ethnicities, and diversity and nobody should strip you of that.”