A Kelowna community member is putting together a gift basket for a local business that was tagged with racist graffiti.
Danielle Kozek, a Realtor at Royal Lepage Kelowna, posted on Facebook asking for community donations to put together a gift basket for the owners and staff at Bon Ga, a local Korean restaurant on Glenmore Road. Bon Ga was vandalized on Saturday morning, Oct. 30, with swastikas, expletives and racist messaging, prompting an RCMP investigation into the incident.
“Hate crimes and hate-motivated criminal activity have no place in our community and our officers are working diligently to identify this suspect,” said Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy.
According to the RCMP, the incident happened at approximately 5:30 a.m. and the perpetrator was a man wearing a mask and dark clothing.
“We would like to let [the owners] know we are here for them and do not support racism in our neighbourhood,” wrote Kozek in the Facebook post. “This could be a great opportunity for the neighbourhood kids to get involved by contributing something creative while taking a stand against racism.”
Dozens of community members have commented in support of the initiative since the post was published on Sunday, Oct. 31. Many have also offered up their services and products for free as part of the initiative.
Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran also spoke up against the incident.
“This kind of hateful vandalism is taken very seriously by police and by the City of Kelowna,” he said. “On behalf of the entire community, I express our dismay for this disgusting display of ignorance. This vile act, however, offers us an opportunity for us to all stand together and show that one small-minded person with a container of spray paint does not represent our community.”
Those interested in contributing to the gift basket initiative can contact Kozek on Facebook by Saturday, Nov. 6.