Ajinkya “Jinkx” Chodankar (second from right) and his cricket friends take a break from play at Lewis Park. Photo by Mike Chouinard

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Ajinkya Chodankar, or “Jinkx” as he calls himself, was out a few weeks back and ran into some students, mostly from India, on the evening of Aug. 4 at Lewis Park in the Comox Valley.

Also from India, he was happy to be invited to partake in a game of cricket with the students, who were from the international student program at North Island College.

They were having a good time playing when a silver truck drove by and someone inside yelled at them, ‘Go back to your country, you P***s.’

He yelled back at the driver as the truck drove off. One of the students thanked him for standing up for them, though he replied it wasn’t something for which they should have to thank anybody.

“This isn’t acceptable. This shouldn’t be something you have to ever deal with,” he says. “It was just because we were brown. It’s so silly. And he didn’t even get the country right. We were from India.”

Moving here in late 2012, Chodankar is a permanent resident of Canada and is married to a Canadian. He has a bachelor of science degree and is a Red Seal chef, having trained at NIC. He’s also a recruit in the Courtenay Fire Department, training to be a firefighter.

“I made a conscientious decision to move to Canada,” he says. “Through my research, Canada came up on top.”

He says he knows that whoever shouted the racial slur at him and the international students does not reflect the Comox Valley as a whole, but he contacted the newspaper in order to make it clear how much Canada means to him and how much he wants to be part of the community in the Valley.

“I surrounded myself with amazing, amazing individuals,” he says. “Then you get one rotten apple…. I’m sure they’re just being silly. I would like to believe that. They’re not bad people. It was just a lapse in judgment.”

In the meantime, Chodankar would like to encourage whoever yelled at him to meet him in person, so he can show the compassion he has for anyone, even the person responsible.

While the hope is that this isn’t a common sentiment in the community, many communities, like this one, do have protocols set up to respond to acts of discrimination and racism.

“There’s no question that these things do happen,” says Jim Brennan, executive director of the Immigrant Welcome Centre, which serves the Comox Valley, Campbell River and the North Island. “They tend to be isolated events.”

However, he points out there is an agreement with a long list of signatories to set out how the community should respond.

“If we do nothing about this… we condone the behaviour,” he adds. “When things happen, you report it.”

RELATED STORY: World Without Hate contest victim of its own success

Province-wide, communities have signed on to the Organizing Against Racism and Hate (OAHR) program to deal with these kinds of incidents. Locally, this was developed from 2007 to 2009, says Bruce Curtis, chief administrator of Community Justice Centre, which oversees the program in the Comox Valley. It was updated to take into account online acts, and it was renewed in 2016 with 125 signatories, including local governments, First Nations, businesses, community groups, schools and others.

“We have been contacted by a number of individuals over the years to assist and support them,” he says. “We provide a variety of supports.”

In extreme cases, where a criminal act has taken place, this gets transferred to the RCMP. For lesser acts or civil matters, Curtis says they work with the newcomer to provide advice on how to handle the situation. If the person responsible is known, they try to set up a process similar to restorative justice mediation and sit that person down with the person they have affected. Through the program, they also do public education around these issues and produce an annual report, which makes it all the more important people report these incidents.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Midway mill shutdown expected to last 8 to 10 weeks

Vaagen Fibre Canada cites low inventory, road restrictions as reason for shut down

First presumptive case of coronavirus identified in the Interior Health region

The woman, in her 30s, travelled from Shanghai and lives in the interior

Timberwolves seek fresh lacrosse recruits

New season of the ‘fastest game on two feet’ begins this spring

Missing the Bus: Transit planners trying to fix overcrowding

Part two in a series looking at transit issues in the west Kootenay.

UPDATED: Nakusp to use New Denver playbook to attract doctors to town

Clarification on doctor’s shortage from local clinic manager

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

Registration opens soon for BC 55+ Games in Richmond

2020 55+ Games have been officially scheduled for Sept. 15 to 19

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Canadian nurses’ unions warn national standards for coronavirus protection too low

President says safety protocols nationwide are inadequate compared to those in Ontario and other countries

Murder of sex worker exposes Canada’s hypocrisy on prostitution: advocate

A 2014 law made purchasing sex or benefiting from the selling of sex illegal

Wet’suwet’en return to northern B.C. forest road pipeline workers move through: First Nation

Opponents of a pipeline who support the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have reoccupied camps at centre of arrests

Over a dozen birds found mysteriously dead on rural B.C road

Ministry of Agriculture notified of the strange occurrence on No. 4 Road in Abbotsford

B.C. men arrested after theft of heavy equipment leads to highway blockade

One man surrendered to police while the other was taken into custody the next morning, RCMP say

Most Read