The defacing of the Komagata Maru Memorial in August last year was a very terrible incident and was a very sad thing to see. For the last century, our families have had to live with the experience of being rejected from Canada because of our race, and it is memorials such as these that help us deal with the pain and damage of racism.
When these memorials are defaced, the painful memories of intolerance and racism come back.
But we do not wish to dwell on the pain of the past. Instead, we are grateful to the Vancouver Police for taking this vandalism very seriously, and investing their time and energy into bringing about charges against the person they feel is responsible for the vandalism.
As well, we wish to think about the great success we have had these last few years in getting memorials and displays acknowledging the Komagata Maru incident throughout many cities in the Metro Vancouver area. These memorials serve to heal the wounds of the families of the victims and help to educate Canadians about the importance of creating a more tolerant society.
The memorials we build for those who have suffered from racism are very special places that should be treated with respect by all Canadians. Incidents such as the August defacing of the Komagata Maru Memorial show that we must all remain vigilant and not be afraid of calling out and challenging behaviour that is disrespectful to any segment of our society.
The defacing of the Komagata Maru Memorial is a reminder that we still have a lot of work to do, but the diligent work of the Vancouver Police does give us hope that even in the dark days we are still making progress to building a more tolerant Canada.