The month of May has been Asian Heritage Month in Canada. This year, it took on an extra meaning for us as a police department tasked with keeping people on transit safe in the midst of fears at rising anti-Asian sentiments. Everyone deserves to ride on transit feeling safe and, sadly, that hasn’t been the case for many people of Asian heritage recently. That is of great concern to all of us at Transit Police, but perhaps more so to the many officers who themselves are of Asian heritage. We spoke to four of them.
Constable Darren Chua has participated in several of the pop-up safety events hosted by Transit Police at SkyTrain stations with a large Asian demographic. “As a person with Chinese heritage, it’s important for me to engage with the Asian community,” he says. “Historically there’s been distrust in the police, resulting in community members often not being forthcoming in reporting crimes.” He’s working hard to change that perception.
Constable Clint Hervias has a history of assisting vulnerable people in the Filipino Community “I call Canada home now, but grew up in Africa,” says Cst. Hervias who is of Filipino heritage. “It doesn’t matter where in the world you come from, everyone just wants to feel safe in their daily life. I’m proud to play a role in providing that safety for people while they travel on transit in Metro Vancouver.”
Constable Jenny Chung has worked closely with the Korean community, of which she is a member, for many years. “I speak with newcomers to Canada to let them know that Transit Police officers are always here to help them if they don’t feel safe on transit,” she says. “It’s been my experience that sometimes people worry that they are ‘bothering’ the police or that it will get them unwanted attention from us, but that’s not the case in Canada. If someone doesn’t feel safe, we are here to help, and we want them to report it.”
“As a Chinese man who grew up in China and immigrated to Canada in his 30s, I have personally experienced the difficulties adapting to a new culture and a new country,” says Constable Junjie Hu. His message is clear. “Given the current anti-Asian environment, every single one of us has a role to play. Stand up for yourself and others. Voice your concerns and report every incident involving racism, hatred, harassment or bullying. There is no room for any hatred or racism in Canada”
Racism and hate have no place on the transit system, and will not be tolerated. Anyone who experiences or witnesses harassment or threatening behaviour while on transit should report it to Transit Police. Call 604.515.8300 or text 87.77.77 (always call 911 in an emergency). If you are worried about your safety or the safety of a loved one, our transit safety tips might be helpful.