Saskatchewan

Parade planned in Saskatoon to fight racism, show coronavirus has 'no border and no ethnicity'

An attack on an Asian teenager in Saskatoon left the boy's family and others in the community reeling. It also reminded Chinese Canadians and other immigrants in Saskatoon of their own experiences throughout this pandemic.

Parade comes after teenage Asian boy in Saskatoon was attacked

Xianming Zhao says COVID-related racism has affected him and his community. (Submitted by Xianming Zhao)

An attack of an Asian teenager in Saskatoon left the boy's family and others in the community reeling. It also reminded Chinese Canadians and other immigrants in Saskatoon of their own experiences with racism throughout this pandemic. 

Nelson Chen said his 15-year-old son was subjected to racial slurs and COVID-19-related accusations, then physically attacked, while riding his bike in a field behind Bishop James Mahoney High School late last month. 

Now, a parade is being planned to remind people the virus has "no border and no ethnicity."

Xianming Zhao is planning to take part in the parade. He said he has experienced COVID-related racism in Saskatoon since the pandemic began. 

"The Chinese community in Saskatoon has been hurting a lot," he said.

One example Zhao shared came when he was  paying after grocery shopping in the early days of the pandemic. He said the cashier turned her back to him and reached out her arm to hand him his receipt. 

"She didn't do this to other customers, but only to me. So it's kind of weird," he said.

He said people have called COVID-19 the Chinese virus to his face and directed anger toward him because he's Chinese.

Zhao said he and his friends donated masks, gloves and other medical supplies to different places around town.

"We want to help. We don't want to hurt anybody."

Zhao said he hopes the parade, which is set for Sunday afternoon in Saskatoon, reminds people to check themselves.

"The main purpose of this parade is to speak out [with] our voice, to tell people that we are not a virus," he said.

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