Last night, many British Columbians were shocked to learn of another racially motivated act of violence in Vancouver.
A special adviser in the premier's office, Don Bain, tweeted that his daughter was punched in the head after sneezing while walking her dog.
This morning, the victim, Dakota Holmes, spoke out in a news release issued by the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, which previously employed her father as its executive director.
“I’m sharing my story to get the message out there that racism is a deadly and sobering threat and every single instance of racism must be addressed and called out by all of us, so that it stops," Holmes said. "Although the attacker thought I was Asian at first, I yelled out that I was Indigenous, and he still didn’t stop and didn’t seem to care."
Holmes has seasonal allergies, which is why she was sneezing. The assailant accused her of having COVID-19.
"As an Indigenous woman I am acutely aware that sexism and racism, often intersecting, are part of my life, and I never take chances on my safety," she continued. "However, society continues to treat Indigenous women as disposable."
Her dog scared the attacker, who fled on foot. Police are investigating.
"What would have happened if I hadn’t had my dog with me, and if I didn’t have a strong network of family and friends for support?” Holmes asked.
The president of the UBCIC, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, is urging the public to actively oppose racism of any kind.
"We are absolutely disgusted and angered about the violent, racist attack against Dakota Holmes, and we offer our sincere and heartfelt sympathy and solidarity to Asian communities who have borne the brunt of COVID-19 related racism," Phillip said. "We fully agree with the calls for all levels of government to immediately take urgent steps to prevent and condemn any racist and xenophobic violence and discrimination that is related to COVID-19."
Anyone with information about the attack on Holmes is being urged to call Vancouver police at 604-717-3321.